Skip to content
Back to issue
From: Vol.09 N.01 – A Poetics of Rights

Christmas Tree

by Ojo Taiye

after Ogoniland 

Oh oilman, why do you do us this way?
Again, with the exploitation, again with
the abandonment. Once more, with the
dash. Once more, with wellheads full

of sweet crude. The land, just a drawerful
of dead mullets. A drawerful. Just rusty
pipes and oily mud. The swamp so oily
it stinks of garage forecourts and rotting

vegetation. What is ecological trauma?
Luckily, my mother is no longer suffering.
She is dead. Her fish pond burnt to ashes.
Their scales gleaming in its red embers.

Home which the world supposed not to see
has been dying, gutted with flames. And now,
I don't want to dream. Once more, the spills
persist. Periwinkles are dead! My aunty said.

Our oil on full display at the fair. Were they
wearing suits? Neocolonialism such a formal
sin. Here we go again, my mother beside me,
long ago, (which feels like my distant future).

Warmed all day in the creek with her take out
fish pepper soup. I haven’t eaten that sauce in
years. Such sweet sauce, homely-cooked it was.
Though everyone knows what an ecological

refugee means. They never talk about how it all
starts with spillage. It’s early spring and the usual
birds are not here. The air with its unbearable stench
cuddles this wetland with grief, so high, its toxic.
Published: August 2022
Ojo Taiye

is an emerging artist and a dreamer. As someone who believes in the power of language, he is always investigating the imaginative potential of poetry to capture the minutiae of daily life and the natural world. Alongside working for a rural hospital, Taiye is a freelance writer for multiple magazines and organisations. His poetry “muses on power struggles, race and culture, the damage of capitalism, and the tender fragility of hope.”

An Australian and international
journal of ecopoetry and ecopoetics.

Plumwood Mountain Journal is created on the unceded lands of the Gadigal and Wangal people of the Eora Nation. We pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to elders past, present and future. We also acknowledge all traditional custodians of the lands this journal reaches.