Poem 142 – An Ode to Greenbelt ’22

Black ants process along the guide rope of
Our holy canopy, where angels throng
Joint pilgrimage, a quest for nourishment
Of souls and stomachs, set forth in hope and prayer

A lazy dragonfly flies by, whilst up
Above the sun beats down and walks amongst
Visiting us in chance relationships
Forged over camping gas and mugs of tea

A poet finds his voice once more, relieved
As with a T-Rex roar the crowd roars back
Priestly connections made between two worlds
In flesh upon the lawns, presence restored

Debating democracy and climate change
Reversing alarms sound out. Ironic
But can the church evolve, and should it?
Wake up! Jerusalem can be renewed

Advice is given, go and goof around with
Dead poets, the deader the better
Forgive and be compassionate to yourself
And don’t forget it’s not all about us

The mic is muted, accidental silence
The air is filled, its tense anticipa…
…tion breaks with cheers, the crew
Thrust unexpectant on the stage, our heroes

We sit and listen to those we disagree with
In hope that we might learn something we’d missed
By existing only in our echo chambers
And from this dissonance we reach for more

And then to end the boundaries blur, the stage
Dismantled means as one we lift our song
And bid farewell ’till next time when we gather
‘Cause, this field never fails or disappoints

Greenbelt Festival is an annual gathering centred around artistry, activism and belief, currently in the lawns of Boughton House, Kettering. For me it’s an regular retreat, a place I go to be refreshed, provoked and encouraged. It’s part of my punctuation and I’ve missed it the last two summers. In these verses I’ve tried to capture something of this year’s experience. Naturally, it will make most sense if you were there with me, as it references a variety of incidents and highpoints, and maybe the odd in joke. If you were there, you might spot some of them. Confession, some of the lines have been nicked…

© Ben Quant 2022