Three Haikus for Nature

Three Haikus for Nature

Sun, clouds, drought and flood

Change in a billion strange ways

As carbon traps heat

Wind in tight circles

Spins the sinister raindrops

Into shards of ice

Ripping roofs, mud slides

Violent nature speaks loud

In fury at us

Opher – 9.9.2021

We are at the start of an epoch of change. Our activities have altered the planet. Ironically the future is not looking conducive for human beings.

Climate change is not only bad for us; it is also bad for many other species.

Our greed and stupidity is looking to become our downfall.

It is as if we are beginning to experience nature’s fury directed at us – storms, floods, heatwaves, hurricanes and droughts. We are reaping the rewards for our actions.

Too many people! Too much greed! Too much damage!! Too little time to put it right!!

We’re creating the future.

The Tree

The Tree

Rooted firmly in the ground,

Anchored by a network of great cables

That fan out

Through soil and rock

Clutching,

Wedging,

Holding.

It’s trunk solid, stout and gnarled,

Solid as column of granite

                Resolute,

Strong,

Grand and defiant,

Unbending in the wind,

Stout against the elements;

A pillar of Hercules;

Defiant against the universe,

Thrusting up into the sky.

Its branches radiating

As strong arms

Reaching to the heavens,

Dividing again and again,

Bisecting,

Radiating,

Into a filigree

Of fine twigs,

A delicate latticework,

An umbrella of artwork,

On which the myriad emerald green leaves,

Each one a work of art,

A joy,

Are supported in the air,

Bathing in the sunlight,

Rusting on the breeze.

A noble living giant?

A work of art?

A compendium?

Syncitium?

Mystical – a complex wonder to behold!

A tree.

A leviathan of flora,

                A monster of complexity,

                                Repository of wonder.

A tree.

Opher – 9.8.2021

I find there is something spiritual, divine, magical and resplendent in the majesty of mighty trees.

They transcend.

A Narrow Belt of Colour

A Narrow Belt of Colour

A narrow belt of bright colour on the sea of monoclonal green;

An elongated oasis of life among the sterilised land;

A thin strand.

Within these tiny parameters,

Vestiges of what once was,

Nature makes its last stand.

Opher 7.6.2021

As I went for my daily walk here in early June I was heartened by the thick swathes of flowers on the verge and hedgerows of the country lane.

The other side of the hedge was a great sweeping field of wheat – identical plants, sown in rows, all the same age, carefully supplied with nutrients, sprayed with pesticide and herbicide and nurtured into a huge sweeping green desert in which nothing else can live.

The other side of the hedge was a sanitised nightmare.

One day, when we are gone, the verges and hedgerows will reclaim the fields, the vestiges will expand to become all, and the land will spring back to life again.

The Simple Life

The Simple Life

A bird sang at the top of a tree

A male chaffinch in full plumage,

Colourful,

His song strong and beautiful.

He watched me warily but did not stop singing.

He sang with all his heart

But he was not singing for me.

His song was a warning.

He had staked his claim.

His song was a boast.

It said he was powerful.

He warned off the other males.

He called out that he was here.

He was shouting that this was his patch

That he existed.

That he was strong and fit.

If he sang long enough,

With enough force.

If he sang the song of all time perfectly

She would hear it and she would come.

They would mate, nest and rear their young.

It would make his song worthwhile.

She would come.

So he sang with everything he had.

One day he might not be wary enough.

One day he might not be strong enough.

He would be eaten,

Or chased from his tree,

Succumb to the cold or hunger.

Drop from his perch.

For now he sang.

Life was simple.

She would come.

Opher – 4.5.2021



It is too easy to romanticise nature. Life is hard. You fight for your territory, assert yourself, prove yourself the most handsome, the strongest, the highest status, the one able to provide, and you are rewarded.

Life is simple.

You need food, water, shelter and a mate.

You fight for it with all you have.

If you are the best your mate will come.

If not she will select someone else.

If you are not watchful you will die.

If there is not enough food, water or the weather becomes too harsh, you will die.

So you find a place with sufficient, assert yourself; you sing.

It is a song of strength, a threat, an enticement.

You boast with all your might.

Singing is naked aggression.

If it is enough they will stay away and she will come.

The Simple Life

The Simple Life

A bird sang at the top of a tree

A male chaffinch in full plumage,

Colourful,

His song strong and beautiful.

He watched me warily but did not stop singing.

He sang with all his heart

But he was not singing for me.

His song was a warning.

He had staked his claim.

His song was a boast.

It said he was powerful.

He warned off the other males.

He called out that he was here.

He was shouting that this was his patch

That he existed.

That he was strong and fit.

If he sang long enough,

With enough force.

If he sang the song of all time perfectly

She would hear it and she would come.

They would mate, nest and rear their young.

It would make his song worthwhile.

She would come.

So he sang with everything he had.

One day he might not be wary enough.

One day he might not be strong enough.

He would be eaten,

Or chased from his tree,

Succumb to the cold or hunger.

Drop from his perch.

For now he sang.

Life was simple.

She would come.

Opher – 4.5.2021



It is too easy to romanticise nature. Life is hard. You fight for your territory, assert yourself, prove yourself the most handsome, the strongest, the highest status, the one able to provide, and you are rewarded.

Life is simple.

You need food, water, shelter and a mate.

You fight for it with all you have.

If you are the best your mate will come.

If not she will select someone else.

If you are not watchful you will die.

If there is not enough food, water or the weather becomes too harsh, you will die.

So you find a place with sufficient, assert yourself; you sing.

It is a song of strength, a threat, an enticement.

You boast with all your might.

Singing is naked aggression.

If it is enough they will stay away and she will come.

Nature

Nature

Cauterised, sterilised

Manicured and tamed.

Pulverised, terrified,

Massacred and maimed.

Caged, manacled,

Tied up and chained,

Flattened butchered

Castrated and drained.

Nature in this century

Always on the run.

Treated like the enemy

And tortured for fun.

People in this modern world

Losing their connection.

Senseless and callous

Bereft of all direction.

Opher 13.3.2021

The planet used to be an interconnecting web of different habitats, each different and rich in number and variety. It was a web that we were part of.

That web is now broken up by fields, roads and towns. It no longer connects.

We are no longer part of it.

Nature has become something to be conquered and tamed.

The wildlife is driven back, the swamps drained, the forests cleared and the seas dredged.

The creatures are driven out. Those we find, the remnants, are poisoned, butchered or tormented for fun.

We know longer have purpose. We think we are above everything.

I fear there will be a terrible reckoning

South of Easter – a story

South of Easter

Mau Rata sat himself down on the couch to explain the events that had been passed down through time by his ancestors.

‘The first tribe settled on Rapa Nui having crossed over a thousand miles of ocean from East Polynesia. Their safe arrival at land heralded as a gift from the great god Make-make. The gift was perfect – a land of plenty, of water, trees, birds and animals. There were eggs, meat and fruit aplenty. It generated much rejoicing. Life was easy.

Their first Anki insisted they give thanks to Make-make and honour their ancestors by building the Moai. The massive statues were carved from the volcanic rocks in the quarries and many trees were chopped down with which to roll them to their sites of erection. Much hard work and industry was required.

The life of ease was soon replaced by the toil of construction and transport, but Make-make was content and the ancestors were suitably honoured. Life on Rapa Nui was pleasant and the tribe prospered and grew. Many Anki came and went and always there was the pressure to produce more Moai for Make-make required appeasement and there were times when the rainfall was slight, the harvests slim and hunting more difficult.

As time passed the trees began to thin out as more and more were used to transport the huge Moai. With the thinning of the trees the soil began to wash away and the crops could not grow, the bird and animal populations decreased and hunting dried up, but there were still plenty fish in the sea.

More importantly, the water became scare. Without the trees the rain was not retained. Life became progressively harder.

The Anki saw this as the anger of Make-make and urged even greater efforts in the making of Moai. Surely if sufficient effort was put into producing Moai Make-make would be pleased, the rains would return and bring back the birds and wildlife; life would be easy again.

Feverishly they carved the rocks in the quarries and the last trees were felled in order to move them to their sites. On the day when the last tree fell, Hotu Matu’a paused with his stone axe, thought for a moment as he stared over the barren surface of their denuded island, and wondered. It was only a brief pause. Wielding the flint axe to good effect he soon brought the very last tree to earth.

The last Moai was moved to its position but there were no more trees on which to roll more Moai, so many were abandoned in the quarries and further carving was halted.

Now life was hard and cruel. There was no shade from the relentless sun. Water was scarce. There were no crops or fruit, no meat or eggs. There was no wood to build canoes or branches to make spears. Fishing became hard. People starved. There were roving bands of cannibals to hide from.

In disgust they began to topple the statues.’