The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;
Upon the brimming water among the stones
Are nine-and-fifty swans.
The Wild Swans At Coole, William Butler Yeats (13 June 1865-28 January 1939)
To describe nature's changing seasons, savage beauty and awe inspiring scenery are beyond our everyday useage of words. There's no denying the power and persuasion of nature, or the therapeutic effect it has on the mind; an effect that makes more sense to us as nature lovers in the language of poetry rather than prose. Nature has been a major subject of poetry since poetry began. For centuries poets have urged us to be more mindful of the natural world; charmed us with its wonders; enthralled us with the mystery of our deep connection to it, and pondered on our insignificance in comparison to its scale.
Unfortunately, with so much of the natural world now under threat, the urge to define nature through poetry is shifting towards an urgency to defend it. Photo-ecopoetry, the use of nature poetry with images to evoke, or poetry with an illustrated eco-narrative to inspire action, is an emotive response to the devastation inflicted on the natural world by the industrial growth economy and mass effect of war.
Have you made a hole in your fence yet?
Rarely seen in daylight, and now scarcely seen at night,
The common and garden hedgehog is no longer a common sight.
With so few about town and country,
There’s much that needs to be done,
To save this suburban icon,
From a day it will finally be gone.
So is it too much to do in a garden,
To accommodate a hedgehog’s needs,
By allowing some grass to grow longer,
With one or two bushes and some weeds?
Thus bringing an end to its sad decline
With solutions far less crude,
Than all those lethal helpings
Of bread and milk we put out for its food.
Alas, now when encountered, they’ve no need to be helped, or fed
For generally, when we see one, it’s lying flat, or just as dead.
Could it be from a loss of habitat, Or our chemical farmers and growers?
Or the new lifestyle house and garden, With its slug pellets, cars and mowers?
We’re sure to come up with the answer.
Perhaps it’s staring us in the face,
That extinction is hardly nature’s way,
More the way of the human race!
So should a bonfire house our last hedgehog,
It may chance to die horribly alone,
Unless we use that odd bit of garden,
To give hedgehogs a real chance for a home.
Copyright Roger Cox 2018
Metaldehydes in slug pellets are being blamed for hedgehog deaths caused by the animals eating slugs poisoned by them according to wildlife campaigner...
Got a favourite nature poem, or one you'd like to share?
Subject to copyright, these pages are open to anyone with an eco-poem they'd like to share or have a favourite nature poem they like to see posted. To submit your poem, please get in touch via the Contact page, thank you.