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The Trees are Down by Charlotte Mew

He cried with a loud voice: Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees – Revelation

They are cutting down the great plane-trees at the end of
the gardens.
For days there has been the grate of the saw, the swish of
the branches as they fall,
The crash of the trunks, the rustle of trodden leaves,
With the ‘Whoops’ and the ‘Whoa’, the loud common talk,
the loud common laughs of the men, above it all.

I remember one evening of a long past Spring
turning in at a gate, getting out of a cart, and finding
a large dead rat in the mud of the drive.
I remember thinking: alive or dead, a rat was a
god-forsaken thing,
but at least, in May, that even a rat should be alive.

The week’s work here is as good as done. There is just
one bough
on the roped bole, in the fine grey rain,
Green and high
And lonely against the sky.
(Down now! – )
And but for that,
If an old dead rat
did once, for a moment, unmake the Spring, I might never
have thought of him again.

It is not for a moment the Spring is unmade to-day;
These were great trees, it was in them from root to stem:
When the men with the ‘Whoops’ and the ‘Whoas’ have carted
the whole of the whispering loveliness away
Half the Spring, for me, will have gone with them.

It is going now, and my heart has been struck with the
hearts of the planes;
Half my life it has beat with these, in the sun, in the rains,
In the March wind, the May breeze,
In the great gales that came over to them across the roofs from the great seas.
There was only a quiet rain when they were dying;
They must have heard the sparrows flying,
And the small creeping creatures in the earth where they were lying –
But I, all day, I heard an angel crying:
‘Hurt not the trees’

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Shadow Wolves by Sarah James

Their soft fur – moon white, black as a dark

night, or the grizzled grey of flecked slate –


was not made for stillness or the puppet

motion of stolen sleekness draped over


human bones. Do not be surprised if

the weight of absent flesh rests heavily


on the wearer’s shoulders or the skin

beneath starts to stink of rotten meat.


Death lingers in the shadowed fur.

Wild lives cannot be worn with grace


by those with no right to their beauty.

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An Elephant Never Forgets by David Barber

I am an orphan Elephant child,

they found me wandering in the wild.

alone, confused and terrified.

I was with my mother when she died.

She fell, ripped the air with a roar

shuddered a sigh and was no more.

They took from me with rifle gun

the one who sheltered me from sun,

who guarded me with all her might,

and kept me safe all through the night,

my earth mother my guiding light.

Then they came, in plundering cries

with white gold gleam, in frenzied eyes,

I ran and hid and watched afraid

and saw the wielding, flash of blade

cut her deep, wide open flayed.

They left her there, for those that fly

encircling above in the sky,

left me there lost, wandering wild

a helpless lone Elephant child.

But kind ones came and found me there,

who kept me safe and gave me care.

I’m still afraid, can’t quite trust yet,

the past haunts me, I can’t forget.

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RESTLESS BONES

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RESTLESS BONES curated and published by ELAINE C CHRISTIE and edited by JACQUI ROWE

An anthology of poetry about the natural world and its decline.  A collective voice for the voiceless.  With poetry from Virginia McKenna, Born Free’s poet in residence Richard Bonfield, famous quotations, old favourites, contemporary poets, rescue dog centre, Animal Liberation Front  also including beautiful fantasy art from Josephine Wall and edited by Jacqui Rowe.

All funds from the book go to Born Free USA to fight the fur trade.

Price £7.00 plus £1.80 postage  Available from http://www.restlessbones.co.uk