Poetry – What have we done to the world?

What have we done to the world?

Just a little tree

Standing on its own

Sending lonely roots

To where others have grown

Just a little tree

Shimmering in the sun

What have we done to the world?

Just a little field

A uniform green

No hint of colours

Where flowers should have been.

Just a little field

Sprayed twice a week

What have we done to the world?

Just a little patch

Where a pond once sat

No room for frog

Or poor water-rat

Just a little patch

Of insignificant crop

What have we done to the world?

Just a lonely boy

In the midst of the wild

Playing on his tablet

An impoverished child

Just a little boy

That nature’s passed by

What have we done to the world?

Opher – 16.6.2021

I pay homage to the great Malvina Reynolds and her song What Have They Done To The Rain.

That was a song written in 1962 that highlighted the danger of radioactive fall-out – in particular strontium 90 – from nuclear tests.

My version extends that to a global view of the devastation we humans are causing to the natural world.

A forest is an interconnecting web of roots and it is now being revealed how much trees communicate with each other. They are meant to be together.

Nowadays our ponds are being filled in, our hedgerows grubbed up and our fields sown with monoculture and sprayed with herbicide and pesticide. They have become green deserts.

Our children do not get to play in nature and learn its ways, to enjoy and respect it. They are impoverished and isolated.

What have we done to the world?

Poetry – Leaf and Scale

Leaf and Scale

Leaf and scale

Eye and tail

Precious  Precious



Precious  Precious

Bud and tree

Petal and bee

Precious  Precious

Fin and feather

Fawn and heather

Special  Special

Whale and ant

Fauna and plant

Special  Special

Brain and brawn

Shrimp and prawn

Special  Special

Limb and life

Husband and wife

Special  Special

Awe and wonder

No kill or plunder

Precious  Precious

Planet and sky

Sun on high

Precious  Precious

Forest and air

Bluebell and bear

Special  Special

Water and rock

Hen and cock

Special  Special

Earth and worm

Virus and germ

Precious Precious

Warmth and light

Oxygen and sight

Precious  Precious



Precious  Special  Unique

Opher 25.6.2018

The whole of our biosphere is one amazing event and utterly unique. Every bit of it is special and precious.

If only we could stand back and see how miraculous it is and worship every last piece of this incredible jigsaw of life.

Instead we treat it with disdain and destroy it with derision, contempt and callous disregard.

poetry – Every Stroke Kills

Every Stroke Kills

In the wake of every stroke

Lies the ruins of many lives.

In the wake of every gouge

Lies a community destroyed.

Letter by letter

The epic story is untold.

Letter by letter

The greatest story is unwritten

Until the blank pages

Tell a different tale

Of what once was and is no more.


We do not value the incredible miracle of life on this planet. We may be unique in this most enormous universe. Every single form of life may be utterly unique – every single cell the most amazing miracle. The utter improbability of life means that we should cherish every single cell.

Yet we treat life with such disdain. Insects, animals and plants are destroyed without thought. Every tree houses a community. Every stream and wood provides a million homes.

We chop down the trees and gouge up the soil without thought to the communities we destroy.

We are unwriting the greatest story ever written. It is becoming less by the minute. I wish we would change and learn to cherish every bit of it.

Poetry – The Big Green Ball

The Big Green Ball

Big green ball

To kick around

It’s just a game

Too soon and gone

The wear and tear

Such a shame

Opher 25.6.2018

Big Green Ball

While I was driving around the country I had plenty of time to think. What we are doing to the planet, the loss of so many species, the ravaging of our rainforests, the overpopulation – it all drives me mad.

In the course of my lifetime the world has changed enormously. Nature has been devastated. What I used to take as granted is being eroded every single day.

Living creatures are being wiped out and their interests ignored. If there is money to be made they come in a poor second.

Many people are so cruel. Recently I read of reports of attacks on orangutans. On three different occasions orangutans have been found dying or severely injured riddled with air-gun pellets. One had 140 pellets, including 70 in its head. One died after being riddled with 107 pellets, another had 137 pellets and lost its sight. Which crawl maggots would do such things to such intelligent gentle creatures?

What are we doing to the world? We are kicking the life out of it.

Poetry – Planet Earth

Planet Earth

It is the thirteenth of June 2018

On a warm summer’s day

That I have spent writing and reading.

It was a pleasant day.

Yet there were no swifts in the sky this afternoon.

I am sorry for that.

My garden is full of flowers and the grass is mown

But there is no room for nature.

I am sorry for that too.

What are we doing to you?

How can you bear it?

As we dig and chop,

Fence and rip,

Sterilise and sanitise.

Is this what you want?

That we should tame and reduce?

Tie you in knots?

And reduce your complexity

To our simplicity?

How long will you put up with it?

Mother Earth

Are you powerless?

Planet earth can you hear me?

I am talking to you.

You gave me so much

And I value it all.

But this is becoming less by the day.

How can you bear to see so much destroyed?

So many creatures killed?

So much cruelty and pain?

Planet Earth

Is it alright if we cause you to bleed like this?

Planet Earth

You’ve given me a full life

Laden with stars, sunsets and rainbows

Rocks, trees and seas,

Creatures of all kinds,

Plants and wonders

Always wonders –

How can I repay you?

You’ve been my home for 69 years –

An endless time of love and change.

All I can do

Is say thank you.

I am so sorry.

Opher 13.6.2018

I do not happen to believe in Gaia – that the planet is really alive and has consciousness. At least I don’t think so. That type of mysticism is attractive but fanciful.

But I did find it an interesting poetic idea to talk to her as if she was alive.

So what is there to be said?

It seemed to me that the most important thing was to apologize for the mess we are making.

Life is so obviously the jewel in the crown. Life, in all its forms, is a marvel. Yet do we hold it sacred? No we do not. We are destroying species after species, ravaging habitats with impunity and treating life with disdain.

There is an arrogance about mankind that insists that humans are the only worthwhile life upon the planet. That is risible. All life is important. We all started from that same one miracle cell. We’ve all evolved for the same length of time. We all fit together in this remarkable jigsaw puzzle of life. Yet that is the jigsaw puzzle that we are dismantling. We are throwing away piece after piece. Soon we will lose sight of the big picture.

We need to start appreciating it.

I’m sorry Planet Earth. We’re acting like spoilt brats.

Poetry – There is no time

There is no time

Amid the anguish and the blame,

Amid the anger and the shame,

Between the laughter and the fun,

Between the torture and the pun,

There is no time.

The time when antelopes ran free,

The time when gorillas had trees,

The time when elephants had room,

The time when whales were not doomed,

Has past and gone.

What is gone cannot come back,

What is past is history,

When time runs out,

There is no room,

When room runs out there is no space,

For even mystery.

Opher 13.4.2018

Not very long ago nature was dominant. Humans were few and their impact was less. Humans roamed the world in wooden ships. It was dangerous and took months and years. They explored jungles on expeditions requiring hordes of porters and discovered the heart of darkness.

Life teemed over the planet in its myriad of forms.

Yes we’d already had an impact. It seems the first sign of humans moving into an area was the eradication of the megafauna. They were hunted to extinction in no time at all. We will never set eyes on a giant sloth, giant kangaroo, mastodon or mammoth. They and the rest of their giant cousins were hunted to death.

For the rest it is taking a little longer.

Now we have planes and roads. What once took months and years now takes hours. In such a short time the impact is massive. Time is running out. We are working our way through the tiny, medium and rare. There is no time left for many of them and the rest wait their turn.

Poetry – Every Step a Praise

Every Step a Praise

Let every step be a praise of wonder,

Every breath a gasp of pleasure,

Every blink a new awakening

And may every journey lead to another splendour.

For we live in the midst

Of a glorious spectacle

In which all is mystery,

And the pleasure

Is in the discovery.

So let every touch be one of love,

Every sound an orchestra,

Every flavour a banquet

And every moment

A fragment of eternity.

Opher 6.10.2016

Every Step a Praise

This is another of my secular poems to the beauty of nature and the incredible wonder of life.

We have woken from eternity to behold the most majestic place in the whole of infinity – a place of splendour, wonders and mystery. And the biggest wonder of all is that we have the consciousness and senses with which to appreciate it.

There is nothing more satisfying than to appreciate the glory of nature. We should acknowledge that with all our being. The world, the heavens, green plants and creatures are all part of a marvellous panoply of extraordinary spectacle beyond our capacity to comprehend. Mankind creates religions in order to capture its magnitude yet always falls far short. Nature is the most stupendous reality of all and we are part of it. To be in harmony with it is all that we could ever wish for.

Poetry – Our Future

This is our future.

                We tell it as it is;

                                As we see it.

For we know.

All the money in the world

                Is not worth the future

                                Of the planet –

Our heritage.

Opher – 22.4.2021

Too many people are making too much money out of destroying the planet.

They put profit before the future.

They do not care about the damage they do.

They spread their propaganda of denial.

They are evil.

Poetry – Greta


We’re on a crusade to change a world

Made worse with every tree that’s felled

With every ditch that’s filled

And every war-cry yelled.

Of all this greed I’ve had my fill.

A selfish species with a lust to kill.

Beauty and love replaced by sorrow

Without a thought for tomorrow.

They’ve got nature on the run.

Too much junk from everyone.

Too many people taking too much room.

Too much violence, doom and gloom.

They are still pumping carbon into the air

With climate change deniers everywhere.

From arid desert to melting iceberg

The future rests with Greta Thunberg.

Opher – 20.4.2021

In the course of my lifetime I have seen such destruction. The world has been consumed by wars, famines, droughts, genocides and massive environmental destruction.

When I was born the world population was 2.5 billion. It is now 8 billion.

Great swathes of rainforest have been cleared. Billions of animals have been slaughtered. Sea, land and air have been polluted.

Instead of living in harmony with nature and looking for a sensible life of love and beauty we are racked by selfish greed.

Billions live in poverty while a few live in opulence. Billions are traumatised by cruelty, violence and war.

People are consumed with a lust for power and wealth and are willing to destroy the planet in order to get it.

We need a new idealism.