Poetry – The Green Desert from an Emerald Ocean

The Green Desert from an Emerald Ocean

A verdant patchwork of beauty,

A lush green desert.

Tree by tree,

Bush by bush,

Stream by stream,

Pond by pond.

When Harold marched all the way to Stamford Bridge

To settle a score with Hardrada,

Then back down to Hastings

To get one in the eye from Edward,

There was never a road in sight.

Watched by a trillion eyes,

Along woodland trails,

Beneath a latticework of branches,

Past clearings, hamlets and streams,

To the symphony of trills,

The cacophony of birds,

A billion different buzzes,

Rustles and startled cries,

He marched.

Caterpillars and crickets

Beetles and bugs,

Bear, boar and beaver,

Squirrels and stoats

Voles and shrews,

Hedgehog, fox and ferret,

Deer and dormouse,

Wolf and wolverine,

Lizard, snake and slowworm.

Jay and owl,

Eagle and falcon,

Osprey, harrier and egret.

Bit by bit,

A tree here a tree there,

A pond filled a hedge grubbed,

Piece by piece,

A stream here a stream there,

A trillion becomes a billion,

The cacophony subsides,

Piano replaces forte.

The wind howls in rage

Across denuded hills.

A torrent of tears falls across the

The naked land.

An emerald ocean of waving leaves

Subsides to the naked skin,

With just a thin green underwear covering

To hide its shame.

Vibrant becomes calm.

Dangerous becomes tame.

Many become few,

Noisy becomes peaceful,

Complex becomes simple,

Slowly, gradually

Piece by piece

So we do not notice

What has gone.

Until we believe

The green desert

Is really nature;

That the agricultural wasteland

Is the countryside;

That the red tractor

Spraying the fields

Is part of our

Bucolic heritage.

The last vestiges

Creep away to hide

As the chemicals

Soaks the soil,

As the plough

Turns the sods

As the culvert is laid,

The unneeded pond

Filled in,

And the last hedges

Covered in nets.

If Harold was to return

And survey the green desert

We have created,

And compare it to

That emerald ocean,

He knew so well,

I wonder if he would still

Believe it was worth

Dying for?

Opher – 19.4.2019

I had to be a little loose with the creatures of those times. By the time Harold came along the last bear had been killed at least four hundred years in the past. But the wolf and beaver were there right up until the 17th century when they were hunted out of existence.

What we take as the beautiful British countryside is really nothing more than an open air industrial site. It bears no comparison with real nature.

What we see as the rich tapestry of nature is the tiny rump of what was once flourishing here.

We don’t even know what we have lost.

A traveller through time from a thousand years before would not recognise this green desert we have created.

My Britain – a country worth dying for?

Untold trillions have.

She would probably shake her head and weep. I know I do.

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