Poetry – An Invisible Machine – A poem for Roy Harper and the planet!

Poetry – An Invisible Machine – A poem for Roy Harper and the planet!

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An Invisible Machine

I wrote this poem on the way back from a Roy Harper gig in Scotland. We discussed the environmental damage being wreaked upon the world by the selfish, greedy minority who control the capitalist machine that is destroying the planet.

Five billion people live in poverty and despair while a few hundred thousand squander everything in a senseless orgy of extravagance.

The forests, lakes and seas are being consumed. The chimps, elephants and rhinos machine-gunned.

I suggested Roy wrote an epic song on this subject. He told me that he was writing one about what goes on in people’s minds. That is where the madness is conceived!

As we are distracted with booze, sex and TV, religion, psuedodemocracy and talent shows, tribute bands, muzac  and nostalgia, fashion, glamour and celebrity, the real world is being ripped apart before our very eyes!!!

I refuse to be stupid!

An Invisible Machine

There is an invisible machine

Relentlessly churning around the world.

Into its maw goes forests, lakes

And whole oceans.

Out of its rear

It excretes plastic trinkets

And control.

Its gears drip with blood and sap.

Sitting astride this behemoth,

This slow-motion holocaust,

The gleeful sneering drivers spray champagne down upon us.

In its wake the controlled

Buy trinkets and are distracted

By the addictive effluent

As they desperately strive to climb on board.

Their dream

Is that they too might live to spray champagne.

When its job is done

And all the wonders have been transformed to junk

It will consume itself.


Opher 18.9.2016


Positive effects of the Corona Virus.

There is rarely a disaster that does not have at least a few positive effects and that is surely true of this Covid-19 pandemic.

I thought it would be a good idea to look at some of the positive outcomes:

a. It might stop the Chinese from slaughtering wild animals in their markets in Wuhan and other provinces (how the epidemic was believed to have started). Wild animals are currently caught all over the world and taken to China to be killed. Perhaps they will leave these poor animals in the wild where they belong.

b. It may encourage better partnership and cooperation between countries as we work together to combat this threat. This recent move to isolate and compete is not good.

c. It might bring out the best in people – the more altruistic, caring side – as we join together to help those in need – to look after our neighbours and care for each other – to be less selfish and greedy.

d. It might make us value our nurses, teachers and doctors more. Public servants have been penalised with poor pay and worsening pensions. It’s time we realised what a great job them do and how important they are.

e. It might make us realise that money is not everything and that this society has got its priorities wrong. We reward bankers and greed and punish caring. Perhaps it is our bankers who should be on low wages and our carers who should be properly rewarded?

f. Perhaps we might start to think about nature more and care for the planet better?

g. Already we can see that the economic downturn has had a positive effect of pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. If I believed in Gaia I would say the planet is giving us a warning.

h. Perhaps killing off a number of the older members (like me) would do a little to address our overpopulation problem? It’s time we made this a priority!

I. We should be thankful that it does not seem to affect our children greatly! Things could be a lot worse.

j. This is a great practice for when the real killer virus comes through! There is bound to be one that kills a much higher percentage of people than this one.

k. It may make us value our friends, family and lifestyle more than we have.

l. It might make us look at our priorities and question what we are doing.

m. It will certainly give a lot of us some time to think and do things we never had time to do.

Who knows. The world is going to be different when this is all over!

Poetry – The Last Gasp – A poem for the rebirth of nature

Poetry – The Last Gasp – A poem for the rebirth of nature


The Last Gasp

I have been thinking of writing a novel about a world to come, when mankind has had his day and the planet passes out of the Anthropocene and into a new age.

Without man it would not take long for all our structures to crumble away, for the plants and animals to reassert their presence and for the world to once more teem with life.

Without man the air and water would be pure and the soil cleansed so that balance could be restored.

Without the artificial farming of the most fertile land it would soon return to its natural climax and become rich in habitat and possibility. It would rapidly reassert a new harmony and balance.

It would provide impetus for a new burst of evolution as mutation threw up new possibilities to fill the gaps that mankind has wheedled out. Unchecked new species would emerge to exploit the abundance and changing ecosystems. The planet would soon recover.

Within the brief expanse of a million years or two it would be a rich new world of possibility, and there, buried in the rocks, would be the bones left to tell a terrible story of desperate days when a savage beast ravaged the land and relentlessly tainted and destroyed – a beast of intelligence, imagination and skill who proved himself none too clever, had his day and departed the scene.

I could not think how to write that novel with no characters to focus on, no survivors at all, so I condensed it into a poem.


The Last Gasp 

With the last desperate gasp

She slumped back on to the floor and was still.

Outside the birds sang in the pruned apple trees,

The spiders span their webs in the trimmed hedges,

Rabbits nibbled grass in the field at the back

And mice slipped through the foliage of the hedgerows – unseen.

Inside the house it was still, as if holding its breath in disbelief.

The car sat in the drive and everything was as neat and tidy as normal.

Except this was a new normal.


All over the world it was the same story.

Creatures hesitantly tested the extent of their jurisdiction

As they warily adjusted to the new world,

Keeping one eye on the look-out for man.

But there was no man to be seen.

In time they would forget.

In time the boundaries would disappear.


It had been so quick.

One minute there were lawns being mown, roads being laid and trees being felled –

One minute the world was full of cars, chainsaws and guns,

And the next it was quiet, holding its breath, before exhaling a new song of joy.


It did not take long.

The roots and spores soon set to work.

Concrete cracked, wood rotted and plants grew unchecked.

No more herbicides and pesticides –

A plethora of weeds, trees and insects –

A profusion of creatures large and small –

Without hindrance or cull

The predators had food a-plenty.

The seas unfished and freshened;

The air clear and scented;

The soil reinvigorated.

As grey turned green and life teemed

Evolution worked overtime to plug the gaps that man had hollowed out –

The mega-beasts, the balance and harmony, the variation and abundance.

And over a million years the bones

Compressed in rock

Were the only reminder of the days of disaster.


Opher 22.10.2016

My books are available on Amazon in paperback and digital formats. They are world-wide!

In the UK you might like to browse through on my link below: For overseas visitors please refer to your local Amazon. You’ll find me there.


In the USA:

In the USA – https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=opher+goodwin

Here’s a few selected titles:

Rock Music

  1. The Blues Muse – the story of Rock music through the eyes of the man with no name who was there through it all.


2. In Search of Captain Beefheart – The story of one man’s search for the best music from the fifties through to now.


Science Fiction

1. Ebola in the Garden of Eden – a tale of overpopulation, government intrigue and a disaster that almost wipes out mankind, warmed by the humanity of children.


2. Green – A story set in the future where pollution is destroying the planet and factions of the Green Party have different solutions – a girl is born with no nervous system.

Kindle & Paperback versions:


The Environment

1. Anthropocene Apocalypse – a detailed memoir of the destruction taking place all over the globe with views on how to deal with it.



  1. A passion for Education – A Headteacher’s story – The inside story of how to teach our children properly.


There are many more – why not give them a go! You’ll love them!

John Fowles – Quote from The Tree – the real tragedy of the destruction of nature.

John Fowles – Quote from The Tree – the real tragedy of the destruction of nature.

I have just finished reading The Tree by John Fowles (writer of the Magus and French Lieutenants Daughter and one of my favourite writers). It was a splendid little book. It encapsulated his feeling of oneness with nature and trees – the wild – something that cannot be captured by science or art but that is a state of being.

While reading it I was particularly struck by one paragraph that resonated with me and would like to share it with you.

‘There is a spiritual corollary to the way we are currently deforesting and denaturing our planet. In the end what we must most defoliate and deprive is ourselves. We might as soon start collecting up the world’s poetry, ever line and every copy, to burn it in a final pyre; and think we should lead richer and happier lives thereafter.’

That sums up the grief and anguish I feel inside at the constant cruelty and destruction we are wreaking around the world. Each tree and creature is a poem in my world – a poem lost forever – and one that makes me all the poorer.

Poetry – Back Home for Tea – a poem for the destroyers of nature!

Poetry – Back Home for Tea – a poem for the destroyers of nature!

elephant GP

Back Home for tea

The world is now so small we can whizz round in our Leah Jets in no time at all. The logging companies have opened up the jungle to chop down the tallest trees and the hunters pour in through the new roads.

They machine gun rhino and elephant from trucks and light planes.

They take the tusks to carve and the horn to grind down as a cure for impotence (just what we need).

They chop the forest, murder our cousins – chimps, gorillas and orangutans, for bush-meat and still harpoon whales.

The great American hunters buy trophies. With a bunch of natives in tow they track lion, elephant and rhino and shoot with high-calibre rifle from a safe distance. They pay big money to kill off the last of the great beasts.

The palaeontologists say that the first sign of humans appearing on the scene is the total disappearance of all megafauna. We are the most cruel, brutal killers. We have the whole planet in our sights.


Back home for tea


Machinegun an elephant and rhino, or two,

On the African plain.

Then into the jungle

To pot a gorilla, chimp and whatever might remain.

Flit to Vietnam

To saw down a mighty tree,

Harpoon a Blue Whale

In the Sargasso Sea –

And back home for tea.


Opher 13.9.2016

Poetry – The Sun was Shining

The Sun was Shining


I woke up this morning.

The sun was shining.

It made the trees dance in their dappled green dresses.

A mellow breeze

Carried the scent of flowers

Across the unending forest.

I watched the birds

Flying between the branches,

Building nests and impressing each other with their song.

Beneath the canopy

Creatures nibbled

On the verdant undergrowth.

The whole of nature

Put on a show

Of interconnecting magic.


But, as the bulldozers started up

And the chainsaws began to scream

I realised it was merely a wishful dream.


Opher – 6.3.2020

Poetry – How Much is Money Worth?

How Much is Money Worth?


How much is money worth?

Is it worth a single tree?

A forest? Or a stream?


How much is money worth?

Is it worth a single whale?

All the gorillas?

Or an orangutan, or a tiger?


How much is money worth?

Is it worth a hurricane?

A flood or a drought?

Perhaps a forest fire?


How much is money worth?

Is it worth a lung?

A plague?

A kidney or a life?


How much is money worth?

Is it worth a single family?

Or a country?

A people or a planet?


What is the price of money?


Opher – 1.3.2020

Poetry – A Green Lung full of Fire

A Green Lung full of Fire


A great green lung full of fire.

Nature consumed by greed,

Killed by inequality.

Despite the fact that there’s more than enough

They always want more.

It’s an addiction.


While eight billion mouths need feeding

There are those

Who seek to exploit

Without a thought

For their effect on the planet.

It’s complete madness.


As climate changes and species die

The deniers

Ignore experts and scientists

In the face of overwhelming evidence.

It’s a tragedy.


Opher – 1.3.2020

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

Heavy rain clouds hung on the horizon threatening a torrential downpour but we decided against the rainproofs. The sun was already blistering; the air so heavy with moisture that you could bathe in it. If it rained it would be a relief. We’d be soaked but our shorts and T-shirts would soon dry off. We set off along the rainforest trail to the music of cicadas and unseen birds.

The forest has a sweet scent of decay and vitality. Everywhere there is green – green leaves, green fronds, green lianas and green epiphytes. It feels alive. We are strangers in a new fecund world. We are searching for animals, our cameras at the ready. We find some too.

By the end of two weeks we have photographed sloths, iguanas, turtles, agoutis, parrots, macaws, flycatchers, monkeys, caiman, butterflies, moths and dozens more – each a delight to discover and a wonder to see. We have watched spider monkeys at play and capuchin monkeys cracking open coconuts, sloths slowly clambering through the foliage and huge iguanas, like dragons, clinging to tree trunks.

It felt so alive.

Our skin rusted in the sun and humidity. Our bodies adjusted, sitting on deck watching the jungle slip past, with a cool breeze in our face; rushing to put on our scant clothing to scamper up to the top for the sunrise, to search the deck at first light for giant moths, butterflies and beetles; sorting where to go, down jungle trails, canoe rides, or simply walking around. When in the unfamiliar even the ordinary is extraordinary. It is amazing how quickly one adjusts. This is our new normality.

Slowly we return home. The sun gradually loses its intensity. People take every opportunity to relish the last of its warmth, some asleep on loungers, some reading, some watching the seas for whales, dolphins or seabirds. We have left the tropical heat behind.

Back home we unpack, start on the mound of washing and go for a walk. No shorts, T-shirt and sandals but wrapped in layers of shirts, jumpers and thick coat topped off with hats, scarves and gloves.

Walking down the lane, looking out over the waterlogged green fields I could not help thinking what a mess we’ve made of it. This was the green Yorkshire countryside. Before the industrial revolution a landscape of forest, full of wildlife, now an endless denuded green desert, with just the odd crow and pigeon, plus a few creatures clinging on in the remaining hedgerows.

We live in the vestiges of the wonder of what once was. All over the world 8 billion mouths are busy devouring miracles.

Even in my lifetime I have seen the decline.

The bitter wind bites into my face. Rust is fading as the memories fade, as nature fades, tree by tree, hedge by hedge, ditch by ditch, bug by bug.

I have no camera with me. There is little to photograph. The creatures of my youth have disappeared.

It was a cold bleak Yorkshire day.

Poetry – When life teemed – a poem of anguish

Poetry – When life teemed – a poem of anguish


When life teemed

Long ago, when there was a fraction of our present numbers, man sailed the ocean in big wooden sailing boats. The world was infinite, the seas raged and there was danger everywhere. The brave men saw death at every corner.

When they spied land they replenished their stocks of fresh water and meat. For simplicity they raided the breeding grounds and took on board tons of carcasses. They captured the huge leatherback turtles and turned them upside down on deck so they had fresh meat, oblivious to the hot sun and suffering. They clubbed the baby seals and birds and left the colonies wrecked. For the supply was endless. It mattered little.

They used live animals as ballast in barrels because it was easier than collecting rocks or digging sand. The animals died in agony and rotted in the holds to be discarded into the sea when port was reached.

Life was cheap. People were heartless. The bounty was never-ending.

Except the planet is not infinite, the stocks are not endless and within a short while the teeming wildlife has been reduced to a fraction of what once was. There is probably less than 1% of what there was a hundred years ago. Billions have died.

This is the first verse of a longer poem I have written about this cruelty and mindlessness. We are busy sowing the seeds of our own demise.


When life teemed


Long timber frames and sail

Bravely crossing oceans

Into the throat of gale and swell

To bludgeon, slash and cruelly stash

The feather, claw and shell.


Opher 29.10.2016