broken glass

more picnics mean

more broken glass

it’s not me

or any of my


we wouldn’t do that

who would

stare out to sea

and ask

if the rusty anchor’s still wedged

on the island

where waves attack

shipwreck litter

you’d be stuck

with a fine these days

for that

and I heard the sailors were

all unvaccinated

in 1870

selfish pricks, I wonder

was their captain schooled

by Opus Dei?

someone who

eats roast koala

for tea

picks his teeth

with the constitution

casts icy eyes over

the cash flow of

stamp duty to

developer, it’s only the poor

who choose to buy

on flood plains

my Hilux explains

I’m OK

burning finest quality

trees in aspic

4.2 litre diesel

smash the plastic

P plates

in the car park

by the boat ramp

someone will

tidy up

for you

black water laps

against the morning shore

faint tang of petrol

in the air

it’s safe for kids

so clean


our land is

rich and free 

Photo: Claire Doble


Burst of glitter

clitter clatter

click-slip wince

sharp edges shatter

a thousand bits of

shiny sugar

danger lurks

in tiny matter

it could be

sand, or crushed ice

carve your name

on a grain of rice

toss it away

at the beach,

not nice

microscopic microplastic

that’s your glitter

on my fish bone

saw your mark there

next to mine

since God said

“have dominion

over every thing”

do not question

sparkle-shard ephemera

you’ll find our glitter

for millennia


Soundcloud recording: https://soundcloud.com/clairevetica/glitter


Photo: https://unsplash.com/@sharonmccutcheon



I am the watcher

the runner

unofficial custodian



my feet pray

to mother earth

my breath


salt-sea molecules

of sky

and my eyes


the ways

in sweeping surveil

from mountain

to ocean

and over there

the horizon

mine not mine

owned only

in a global



tread the land

stomp the sand

it’s yours, ours, no one’s

take care


Photo: Claire Doble

Spider season

in morning light

things look thin

like weak coffee and skim milk

it’s spring



snake season, a doorway

in between

with bushfire skies

edged dark, hazy

and the rain is

wrong, lazy

spiders make

no noise at all

this is how

we silence the small


Photo: Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

Two minutes to midnight

The night air is full of the sea
and it pours, thick
through the kitchen flyscreen
as poignant-melancholy music
rises to meet it like a wave
and I contemplate never drinking again

Watch Greta Thunberg on TV
fist-bump Obama and then
make an impassioned plea
her hair grown to Rapunzel length
that means
it’s been at least a year, please let her win

As the rain falls helpless, heavy here
in parched fields beyond
farmers cry drought-tears
and I see broken, unfixed water pipes
beside the train line I’m overwhelmed
by how little we care


Image: Pacifica Australis #3 – Tiger Nautilus Shell by Christopher Diaz (sculptures at Killalea). Photo: Claire Doble

the nothing things

these are the things nobody owns

given free and worthless

made by no-one knows

in a country far away

encased in cardboard and foam

slickshine of stickytape

sliced through and thrown

clean from the box

as though untouched


whose fingers caressed

plastic casing and imagined

those in the west


their creation

did it pay for for a day, an hour, a week

chucked on the heap

weep, world

steep price to pay

these are the nothing things

that nobody wants

made, shipped, given, slippedmemory, unregarded

thrown away,

still… will… outlive


Photo by armin djuhic on Unsplash



So we’re worried about the bridges now

don’t trust the men who built them

or just men

in general


don’t they?

but we’re still driving across

in our cars

that men built

those same ones.

not exactly the same ones but

sort of

the polluting ones

where they fiddled the books

or the sensors

or the stats

to pretend

they weren’t so bad

after all

but they were


And what about the Maldives

sinking beneath

the waves

of plastic

we made

one more long-haul flight

and I never take

a plastic straw

these days

just sink into the bedrock

of sandstone and granite

can the two mix?

blonde and dark

a fizz

you know what

the best thing I heard this week was?

that the heart and lungs don’t know

the exercise you’re doing

but the limbs

they know you’re running

you’re running


Photo: Claire Doble

Bigger than Texas

the earth will take back

in heat and ordure

the shredded plastic bags

and bottle caps.


unbeautiful bits of nature

pond dust, saline scum and

damp piles of leaf and blossom scrofula

look like horror

brown-shiny beetles and chokey cockroaches

creep slow on sickly stick-legs


they take back the dirt

one insect footstep at a time while

seahorses attached to Q-tips

and seagullpigeons in rubber bonnets

are not raging like us


they merely persist

hoping to discover

that rubbish-island in the sea

the size of New South Wales

(because it’s bigger than Texas now)

– must be terra nullius for them



This poem was inspired by the novel Arkady (need to get back to polishing up my own dystopian story one of these days!) And also somehow by Singapore (pictured), a place where the lush fecundity of nature mashes with the nasty detritus and pollution of human industry.



The world makes itself anew

colder and darker

in this hemisphere

begins to shutter herself

for winter and why

do I always see a dull sunrise

over the Piccadilly line

those rows and rows of human homes

neat and pointed, roofs as far

as the eye can see

I can see

the world begin and end here


mean old time

is a bully from Greenwich

a bleak day

for a new year

as the pall of a zillion tiny screens

slides over faces

uncaring and uncareful with unshed

bluelight tears


Totally radical man! Near Zurich HB

I’ve been thinking quite a bit recently about trying to live a more “ethical” life. By this I mean, walking the walk, acting more in accordance with some of my views and principles. This is in no way a manifesto. I just thought if I could do the occasional blog about it, it might help me clarify things.

So: What the f&ck do I mean by living a More Ethical Lifestyle? It’s about the choices I make when it comes to buying goods, recycling & environmental stuff and the things I support by engaging with them (or not), actively or passively. This still sounds a bit academic, so let me give some examples…

Buying stuff.  This is probably easiest to define. In terms of food, it’s about buying stuff that’s been ethically produced – no battery farmed stuff, preferably organic fruit & veg etc (although I admit I’m a bit sceptical about “organic” as the labelling is not always regulated, and it’s often an excuse to print money). Furniture that’s been made well and to last (eg: not Ikea!), from sustainable or eco-friendly sources, clothes that aren’t sweatshop or near enough. etc. I’m in a good spot food-wise here, because Switzerland loves “bio” stuff and is very strong on local produce, most of which is excellent, although you do pay more for it – oftentimes A LOT more. Oh well.

When it comes to other products though, it also gets harder. Cosmetics are a big issue that I would rather ignore but I can’t. For want of a better word, the “un-ethicalness” of being a vain woman is kinda scary. Hair dye. Makeup. Plastic containers of goop for hands, face, hair etc. Contact lenses (not gender specific of course, but when I think of the hypothetical pile of used and discarded contact lenses that would build up throughout a regular CL-wearer’s lifetime, it’s pretty gross).

Then there’s sanitary products, the waste/discards from hair removal/waxing, nails (I had acrylic nails for 5 years – lemme tell you, that shit ain’t organic!), junk jewellery. Old handbags. Shoes that you don’t wear because they were good in the shop but they’re actually hideously uncomfortable. Throw-away fashion. Unfortunately on the clothing front – I’m a bit fickle. I like cheap, fun stuff a lot of the time and I generally prefer quantity over quality. So that’s a bit of an issue for me. It’s depressing. Of course, I always put old clothes in the charity bin I’d really prefer not to encourage/support so much cheap tat being produced in the first place.

Problem is, I just can’t see myself going out tomorrow to start seeking biodegradable hair dye, organic makeup or vegetable nail polish. But maybe now I’ve written this, I will try a bit harder. And, again, the expense of pretty much everything in Switzerland is a deterrent to impulse buying for cheap thrills.

Recycling. Luckily for me, this is a no-brainer in Zurich because the city is really well set up for all kinds of recycling. In fact, Stadt Zurich actively encourages you to put out less “landfill” waste by taxing the garbage bags (Zuri Sacks) you have to use and, I believe, even the “landfill” rubbish goes to a biomass recycling plant rather than to actual landfill (Oh and I see there’s even a recycling tram to collect bulky items!). Plus there are paper and card collections every other week, there are bottle banks everywhere and there’s even a separate bin for bioabfall, which includes all kinds of kitchen and garden waste.

Environmental stuff. This is a biggie. For all the horrendous human rights abuses that are going on around the globe, the damage we’re doing to the natural world is just criminal. Policies that involve people can be changed, our behaviour towards others can be changed. If we destroy the environment, there’s no takebacks. I’m not saying I don’t believe in addressing human issues: of course I do. But the environmental stuff is so urgent and crucial right now. It’s a cliche but there’s no point creating a wonderful society of human beings if there’s no planet for us to dwell on, right!? And it’s so often sidelined. I would like to do more to help.

Things I engage with. This is the trickiest one and perhaps what kicked me into thinking about this whole “ethical lifestyle” thing in the first place. And it’s a lot more insidious. Example: The World Cup is on at the moment and Fifa is well-documented as being corrupt, so part of me would like to not engage with anything World Cup related on principle. Especially as Fifa is based just up the road… But, assuming I did that, would it make one jot of difference to Fifa? And I quite enjoy watching some of the matches. So who am I hurting with this highly-principled response? Only myself. And this one is relatively easy, because I don’t enjoy football that much. What about when it comes to giving up something I really love because it’s produced by a corrupt Big Business?

Because, ideally, I would “boycott” all companies and their output that I deem corrupt and/or essentially evil. But that’s almost all of them! I’d have to change my bank accounts in three countries, stop buying most of those cosmetics and vanity products listed above, never eat takeaway food from a global chain, never buy another piece of clothing from Topshop. As well as encouraging my husband to quit his job at one of the Global Big 4 auditing firms etc. Again, it comes down to – how much does acting “ethically”  impinge on my lifestyle? It always strikes me how it’s so easy for people to scream against Monsanto, while happily guzzling down a Diet Coke. I can’t believe that on a world scale Coke is much better than Monsanto. All big companies are essentially corrupt – you can’t make shitloads of money without doing some dodgy deals somewhere and screwing the little guy/s somehow.

I don’t have any answers for this. I am probably being too idealistic too think there are any. And, ultimately, I’m a bit too lazy, vain and complacent to change things. But I’ve been thinking about it… and it does bother me.

I suppose an obvious answer is to fight the good fight more – be part of the solution, sign petitions, write letters, give to charity, raise awareness (whatever that means?! I am reluctant to start posting loads of preachy/guilt-inducing articles on Facebook!) Yeah, I’m sceptical about slacktivism – in some ways I think it’s worse than doing nothing because you feel all self-satisfied but what do petitions really achieve? Perhaps I am wrong. I probably need to do some more research.

Anyway – if you have some ideas of (ideally easy) changes that can be made (or petitions to sign ;)) … let me know!