Wednesday, November 1, 2017




The rain was unrelenting as the roads became rivers,
the green space now concrete, it had nowhere to drain,
with wetlands paved over and neighbourhoods sprawling
with their asphalt walkways across the flood plains.

The rain was unrelenting, it was difficult to fathom,
in a city that had grown through developers’ greed,
as the tarmac kept spreading around the new buildings
did the Government really not think to take heed.
Falling prey to the financial lure of urban development
allowing its sprawl for only short term gain,
leaving long term safety in avaricious minds
with no concern at all, for potential storms and rain.

The rain was unrelenting, reservoirs could not cope
and with failure to shore up Harris County’s coastline,
the water grew deeper as homes were flooded
and overnight Houston became the world’s headlines.

The rain was unrelenting, as properties were left empty,
with life threatening floods, as water continued to rise,
a situation, catastrophic and completely unprecedented,
the population of the fourth city, looked up at the skies.

The rain was unrelenting, in the world’s greatest nation,
was it a message, that from which, we all should learn,
as scientists predict that this weather should be expected,
as the planet warms up, must be a thought for concern.

The rain was unrelenting and in the glow of the media,
this unparalleled occurrence has hit the world’s news,
to global warming, this may be hard to attribute,
but environmentalists, most certainly have their views.

The rain was relenting as the flood water receded,
then began the search for those loved and lost,
was this then a sign that our climate is changing
and the beginning of a carbon pollution holocaust.


It was still dark, as dawn started to break,
the rain fell, as he stepped outside,
the air smelt dank, he shook himself awake,
stretched his limbs and opened eyes wide.

He yawned as he started his two mile walk
with no shoes and his trousers were torn,
his friend then appeared, but they did not talk,
they had no food and their clothes were worn.

In the distance they saw, large mounds of soil
scarring the landscape, with their browns and reds,
they were here to begin another day of toil,
they held hands together and lowered their heads.

A group they approached, were picking through stones,
whilst others carried large bags on their backs,
some were so young and as thin as bones
and they sat in the mud, filling wet sacks.

They’d never been to school, or owned a football,
watched a television or played a video game,
instead they got down on their knees to crawl,
to collect dirty nuggets, was their aim.

The tunnels were narrow and had been dug by hand,
they had no supports and were prone to collapse,
they went down deep, right under the land,
but they were small enough, to get through the gaps.

A child of four, then started to cry,
‘Get back to work’ shouted a man.
A large group of children, who dug nearby,
said ‘Let’s shovel as fast as we can.’

They were digging for as little as eight pence a day
in dangerous conditions, not knowing why,
all they knew was, that they needed the pay,
to buy some food, or else they would die.

Above on the surface, they were collecting cobalt,
waist deep in water and shivering with cold,
dirty and wretched, for the world to exalt,
the latest technologies, that sell like gold.

They didn’t know their roles, in the sprawling supply chain,
with their broken headed hammers and metal spades
in helping huge corporations with their ill-gotten gain
and supplying minerals to the multinational trades.

There are thousands of unregulated, unmonitored mines
where men, women and children, work as slaves,
as they toil for our phones, in deep dark confines,
whilst others die in the rubble, that are their graves.

They work in conditions that produce clouds of dust,
that cause serious long term problems, to their health,
whilst the rest of us clutch, gadgets, we feel we must
rush out and purchase with our wealth.

In stark contrast, to our glamorous shop displays,
people are working in tunnels beneath the rock,
where they sleep at night and toil in their days,
if we could just see them, we’d all be in shock.

Millions enjoy the benefits of new technology,
but very rarely even ask how its made,
there is sometimes the occasion, when there’s an apology,
as we recognise the absolute greed of this trade.

Amnesty International, found no country legally require,
firms to publicly report their cobalt supply,
so companies continue therefore to acquire,
this element for use, its all too easy to deny.

The abuses of mines, which remain out of sight,
there are no regulations of this global need,
so these people remain, sadly in their plight,
as they dig with their hands, until they bleed.

It’s a major paradox, that in this digital time,
the most innovative companies, still can sell,
Technological devices, it’s an absolute crime,
acquiring materials without having to tell,

how these components were sourced at the very start
and how many people risk their lives for our wares,
it’s up to these multinationals to show some heart
and get involved and change these dreadful affairs.

Companies must not just stop their relationship,
with a supplier, if human rights risks have been found,
but remedial action and taking real ownership,
for the harm suffered by those underground.

Ten grams are needed, for a smartphone
and ten to twenty pounds for a car,i
it’s an ounce for a laptop, it is now known,
but instead we all look from afar.

The worry in how it’s mined, is no concern,
so do we let it continue knowing the harm,
posed for those people, will we ever learn,
surely we should look on with alarm.

Finally they finished, all muddy and starving,
no food had they eaten all day,
but back home in England, our batteries are charging,
what else is really left to say.

So tired though the mud, they walked side by side,
the long two mile walk back to sleep,
hungry and dirty and totally denied,
money to pay for their keep..


There was the sound of planes in the sky above their heads,
then explosions whilst the innocent slept in their beds
and entire families were unaware as the gas rained down,
upon blameless civilians in northern Syria’s Idlib town.

People ran into the streets choking for their very breath,
convulsing, retching and gasping and then the death,
of over seventy people, including young children too
and chemicals poured from war planes as they flew.

With foaming mouths, dilated eyes, and children that cried,
as in their numbers they asphyxiated, collapsed and then died,
some of the survivors helped douse others with water,
as the death toll rose amidst this evil slaughter.

Hours later a hospital treating the injured was hit,
but the Syrian military have said they do not admit
and take no responsibility and categorically reject,
any involvement in this crime in any aspect.

Very few of the hospitals have the capacity to cope,
with such an attack in this place of no hope,
one doctor said he saw whole families that were killed
and could do nothing to help however much he’s skilled.

This attack should strike at the very core of humanity,
how much longer will the world watch this insanity,
as this strike quite clearly is a war crime
and cannot be ignored in this world of our time.

This raid indicates Bashar Assad’s growing confidence
and refocuses on the failure of international incompetence,
in preventing the worst abuses of Syria’s heinous war,
with its regime that we say we all so abhor.

And as no political solution is still not in sight,
the world will continue to witness this fight,
with our world leaders with warnings – there’s a price to pay,
it’s the civilians paying the heaviest, at the end of the day.


COHL WARREN-HOWLES is an observer of nature, she captures her thoughts in both rhyme and short stories, across a variety of genres.  She was born in Salisbury, England, near enough in the shadows of the ancient stone circle – Stonehenge, where she spent many an hour drawing for her degree in Fine Arts and Graphics.  She has a taste for the surreal and enjoys light and dark in equal amounts. She writes for a number of magazines worldwide, has published a book, is now completing her second and currently lives in Stratford upon Avon with her husband Saul.  She has two grown up children.. You can visit her blog http// and check out her next book at

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