At the Hands of Humans by Nina Lewis

Trusting dark eyes stare out from behind the cage

an expression of insecurity

sorrowful mistrust,

Head bowed,

the human hand persists,

voice soothes as fingers stretch out and repeat

the motions through the small opening.

Minutes later the response is love,

licking the fingers of the hand that saved him,

released him from captivity.

He and eight others are transported

sadness burning in their eyes,

a branding tattoo inside each ear,

A number.

An item.

The first moment outside captivity is

captured on film.

They have never seen the sun

Or clawed the earth

and when their cages are opened they

have no idea what to do.

Wary of life beyond the metal.

Trusting spirits still intact

with encouragement and time

they wander out to explore the world.

The same world that wrote them

a very different life story.


Warmth by Chris Fewings

I take the perfect white-furred skin
and nail it to my wall, paw by paw.
Opposite, an exploration map stretched tight,
flags marking our advance.

The last bear in the wild. Still,
the DNA is bottled, and we’ve paid Saami
to manage a safari park. Who knows?
They might return.

Ice. It got in the way. The world needs oil.
I do my job. The economy is growing.
They say the globe is warming.
Nothing’s proven.

I shot her myself. Put her out of her misery.
Greenpeace wanted to keep her on her floe,
starving, for publicity. A colleague adopted the cub.
We care.

Girlfriend wanted her for a coat.
I got her a seal instead.
I wanted to keep a reminder of Eden
here in the field.

They’re amazing, the Northern Lights



Heaven by Emily Dickinson

“Heaven” has different Signs—to me—
Sometimes, I think that Noon
Is but a symbol of the Place—
And when again, at Dawn,

A mighty look runs round the World
And settles in the Hills—
An Awe if it should be like that
Upon the Ignorance steals—

The Orchard, when the Sun is on—
The Triumph of the Birds
When they together Victory make—
Some Carnivals of Clouds—

The Rapture of a finished Day—

Returning to the West—
All these—remind us of the place
That Men call “paradise”—

Itself be fairer—we suppose—
But how Ourself, shall be
Adorned, for a Superior Grace—
Not yet, our eyes can see—


In the falling deer’s mouth by Helen Calcutt

There was an axe, and it buried the tree.
A footprint like God entered the blank space.

Every creaking sound was a leaking of butterflies
ring by ring, surfacing the wound. Yellow, spirit like.

A cry has taken refuge in the rock. Even now it tries
like an ache to forget itself, and be silent. Absolutely.

Where the echo runs, a lighthouse of birdsong



The Buffalo by Mike Alma

As old as I am,

I can remember nothing else,

But it wasn’t always like this.

As bold as I was,

I could never challenge them …

Their long, silver-barrelled sticks –

Spurting fire –

Left us painting the plains,

In our blood –

Many thousand bodies

Lying still as the rocks,

While many more

Uselessly paw the sky –

A sky that turns red

Behind their fading eyes …

Cloven hooves

No longer raising the dust

In storms immense …

No more watching horizons disappear –

Sunset fading before the sun, itself,

Goes down,

The herd roaming where it will,

Way beyond horizons,

Of choice …

Soon, there won’t even be one,

As old as I, to remember

The tales of our magnificence …

It wasn’t always like this –





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