Enid Still, Care within Time

Care without time

Shown disfigured through old glass

The kind that greens over time

It shudders through bodies, places

At speed

Care for a shared body

Of space(s)

Of knowledge(s)

Of love that knows only curiosity

When fear and uncertainty paint the surrounding trees

Making the forest inaudible to the touch

The violence of caring moves

Beyond harms way

Flowing through old, gnarled and tangled roots of intimacy

Known and unknown

Smelling of grassy, mossy interdependency

About the poem

I started to write a short essay for this workshop but found that my words couldn’t express the tensions I felt about my research, particularly the entanglement of care and time, and the contradictions inherent to caring relations. This poem is therefore about my attempt to think through the ethics and politics of care in relation to my research methodologies specifically. Through the poem I tried to untangle my thoughts through evoking different senses, to feel rather than (only) think with care. I try to depict my anxieties around what it means to care in research that is time-bound – limited to timescales, funding limitations, and often shaped by institutional ethical frameworks, which do not always produce ethical relations in situated research encounters. I try to speak to the care of shared labours, spaces and knowledges as liberating, stimulating but also extractive and oppressive. The quick shift to ‘fear and uncertainty’ in the poem, tries to emulate that sense of how unseen such inequalities and unevenness can be, often only revealed in intimate moments. I try to visualise these relations between care, violence and intimacy which occupy my thoughts.

Enid Still is a PhD student at Passau University in Germany and Marie Slodowska-Curie Fellow as part of the WEGO ITN. Her research interests are colonialism, agriculture and ethics of care, specifically their entangled histories in Tamil Nadu, India.