Continuing on from a previous post exploring some links between opera, history and public health, Croakey is delighted to launch an occasional new feature: Poems of Public Health.

The idea arose out of a conversation with Canberra poet Owen Bullock who was unwise enough to mention that he enjoys writing poetry upon request – which I immediately seized upon as an opportunity for Croakey readers and contributors.

Below, he writes upon climate change. What other public health topics would you like him to write about?




fresh food


the water doesn’t taste good


another cyclone up the coast

three varieties of apples in the supermarket

the valley too dry

to camp there


bees are dying

but they love rosemary

which flowers

most of the year


the physics of climate trend

can’t be altered

some say

but what about

a quantum leap


countries must

individuals do


cycling to work

feeling better on less meat


opening up the disused car factory

to make solar panels

inviting the Mayor


Owen Bullock has published a collection of poetry, two books of haiku and a novella. He has edited a number of journals and anthologies and taught students of all ages. He is interested in the potential of poetry to fulfil a variety of social roles. Owen is a PhD candidate at the University of Canberra.


PostScript from Croakey:  Perhaps poetry is better than some of the more usual approaches at translating the social determinants of health into stories that might move and engage the wider public – see A Worker’s Speech to a Doctor, by Bertolt Brecht, which was recently circulated on Twitter as an example of #SDOH poetry.





(Visited 48 times, 1 visits today)