Poetry – Once

Once

Once grasshopper jumped with every step

And ponds were full of frogs.

Once there were stag beetles

That lived in rotten logs.

Once there were huge flocks of swallows

Wheeling through the sky.

Now they are all gone

And we’re left to wonder why.

Once great forests covered every hill

Bears and wolves hunted the deer.

Once people lived in harmony with nature

And the seasons of the year.

Once there was a balance

Full of bounty for the gleaning.

We lived a natural life;

An existence full of meaning.

Opher – 23.1.2021

We live in the Anthropocene, in a landscape designed by man. The wilderness has gone. Nature is tamed.

All that lives only does so through our benevolence; vestiges of what once was.

The forests have given way to green fields of crops, sprayed with death.

Now we life an artificial life and search for meaning.

Poetry – Trees

Trees

Green sap,

Green leaves,

Oxygen, soil, fruit and shade –

Fine rewards.

Slow grow,

Tall trees,

Serene giants, majestic calm

Strong and broad.

Chain saw,

Short sight,

Dead to lumber and away

Cash in hand.

Bare soil,

Stark stump,

Arid rock, no life and now

Desert sand.

No fruit,

No leaf,

No oxygen, water, muse

Or rich life.

All poor,

No breath,

No food, animal, music

Drum or fife.

Gentle

Life-form

Savagely ripped apart

Without a thought.

Seas of

Green now

Now parched joyless rock; all life

Sold and bought.

Opher 18.7.2015

Trees

This short-sighted destruction of the world’s great jungles is the most wicked vandalism of all. To sell the future for a handful of gold is plain stupid.

Trees are our oldest living organisms. Some are three thousand, five hundred years old. There is no respect. Thousand year old trees are senselessly chopped for profit.

Pristine rain-forest, teeming with life, is being cleared to provide food, cosmetics and beverages for a burgeoning human population. Our numbers are destroying the world. Coffee, palm-oil and short-term slash and burn farming are destroying the world.

The trees provide fruit, habitats for most of our planet’s land-based life, soil consolidation, carbon recycling, oxygen production, medicines, shade and water recycling.

Without the trees the soil is rapidly eroded, fertility declines, the wild-life dies, the oxygen is not released, the carbon is not absorbed and all life is the less.

The short-term gain is soon spent. The long-term loss goes on for ever.

Who is to say that these incredible long-lived life-forms are not sentient? Perhaps they think and dream in their own languid manner? Perhaps they feel fear and pain? Who knows?

Poetry – One Gaff and a Slow Slice

One Gaff and a Slow Slice

One gaff

And a slow serrated slice,

Sawing and hacking to the cord.

Then relief.

Agony prolonged,

Intense,

And grief.

Gentle and trusting

Easily herded

Into the shallows

Where the blood

Is curded.

Gleefully stabbed.

The shock resounds.

Excited hunter

With joy rebounds.

No concept of the pain.

Sad meat upon the shore.

Crimson seeps between

Each grain

But the fever

Still screams

For more.

Butchered in the sunset

Ruddy water

Reflects

The crime.

Hunter stands

In depths

Of gory grime

As one

Of the great tragedies

Of our time.

Opher 4.7.2015

One Gaff and a Slow Slice

This was the theme of a number of my Anthropocene Apocalypse poems.

The dolphins and porpoises have bigger brains than us. They are certainly intelligent. But they are gentle creatures with no need to build shelters or machines, let alone weapons.

I stood on the hills above Wineglass Bay in Tasmania with my wife Liz and my friends Dylan and Julia. It is one of the most beautiful sights with its emerald green water and golden sands. I thought it was called Wineglass Bay solely because of its shape as a wine glass. It wasn’t. In the older days they would herd thousands of dolphins into the shallow water. The hunters would stand in the water gaffing them with huge serrated hooks and sawing through their necks to sever the spinal cord with great serrated knives. They would continue in an orgy of murder until all the trapped terrorized animals were slaughtered and the water they stood in was turned from emerald green to crimson. From the hills above the water of the bay was turned red as if it was a half-full glass of Beaujolais.

Can you imagine that much blood?

Can you imagine the pain? To be speared with a huge gaff while some brute slowly cuts through your body with a great knife?

You’d think that was bad enough. That those were uncivilized days long gone. Back then people were brutalized and cruel. Except it is still going on today in the same grisly manner as before. In the Faeroe Islands they are still doing exactly this.

They are as bad as the sadists of ISIS!

Poetry – The Story of Our Brother

The Story of Our Brother

One last breath

And then it’s done –

Into history.

One pull of the finger

And that’s

The end of the story.

The chimpanzee

Was just like me

But now

The blood will dry

And there’s no family

To cry.

The fossils will remain

For a while

And then it’s one more

Crime to file

And no one cares

How our brother

Fares.

When he’s gone

It’s done.

End of story.

Opher 4.7.2015

The Story of Our Brother

I was inspired to write a little series of poems. They came out of my Anthropocene Apocalypse writings and my conversations with my friends Kathy and Toby.

I have witnessed the whole-sale destruction of the world’s rainforests where-ever I have travelled – Peru, Vietnam, Australia, Tasmania, Africa. The story is always the same.

I have witnessed the casual cruelty meted out to animals and the brutal way wild animals are slaughtered.

It distresses me.

As our numbers spiral the destruction increases and the slaughter escalates. The world is finite.

In my own life-time I may see the demises of tigers, elephants, rhinos, chimps, gorillas, lemurs and hundreds of thousands of others. There may well be no rainforest left.

I find that devastating. And believe me – it is real.

Vietnam – 70% of rainforest cleared in 40 years. Madagascar – just 10% left.

It is relentless and stupid.

The last chimp will likely be shot by a hunter soon, just like the dodo was in days long gone. We share 99% of our genes with her but she will still be meat on a plate. It is a terrible crime.

Poetry – Get it over quick

Get it over quick

Gorillas, whales and baby seals

Rhinos, Elephants and quail

Remnants in the undergrowth

We have blasted them to hell

Forests, land and water

Air, us and sea swell

A job that’s well worth doing

For the pleasure or the sell

Caged, tortured, maimed

Hunted, poked, impaled

Badgered to extinction

Even bugs are not doing well

Why take the time to do it slow

Why not get it over quick?

Put life out of its misery

Let’s kill the planet now

Don’t just leave it sick!

Opher 16.10.98

Sometimes I just despair at the madness. We are gaily going about our lives as if there is nothing wrong. As long as our daily existence is not affected we do not have to think about it. We are not looking into the future; at the plastic nightmare round the corner.

Yet there is a relentless catastrophe taking place like a slow-motion explosion. The world population is increasing alarmingly, the environment is being destroyed, animals are hunted, butchered and hounded to extinction, forests are being eradicated, pollution is accruing, the seas over-fished, and the climate is now changing.

Welcome to the Anthropocene Apocalypse.

Yet the greed and selfishness that are fuelling this relentless pulverisation in the name of greed, profit and progress shows no sign of abating.

There are occasions when I become so distressed that I think we should just blast the planet to hell and have done. A quick end would be better than this slow, drawn out agony.

Unless something radical is done on a global scale the wild-life of this planet is doomed. Their future is a misery. The cruelty is unimaginable.

I wrote this poem way back in 1998 in a fit of pique.

Global Warming Cartoons

After four years of Trump and his misinformation it is good to get back on track. I hope Biden comes through on this. The evidence is glaringly obvious yet there are still those who are denying what is right in front of them!

Let’s get it done!! Roll out the sustainable energy. It is all very competitively priced. We have the means to store energy.

It’s not too late to prevent this catastrophe happening.

Ecocide – deliberate destruction of the ecosystem! How about the Death Sentence??

The lawyers are drawing up international laws to prevent ECOCIDE. Something I would support 100%.

Thank you to John Peachey for bringing this to my attention!

I hope there is a really severe penalty for anyone who destroys natural habitat!!

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2020/nov/30/international-lawyers-draft-plan-to-criminalise-ecosystem-destruction