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’


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.


Give Us Sweet Peace. A Tiger’s Plea by Janet Jenkins

Poetry in motion, but wanted for potions;

we’re a dying breed and I fear it’s too late.

The evil ones came, they trapped my brother;

their only thought was exterminate!


Our body parts have special powers;

they’re wanted for healing, or so I am told.

I stalk through the jungle in search of a meal,

while poachers are prowling

and waiting to steal:

my whiskers, for toothache,

my brain for spots,

my bile, for convulsions,

my testes, for nodes,

my teeth, for rabies, sores

and charms.

The list is endless my caring friends,

It’s time to speak out;

support our cause.


Stop these bullies; give us sweet peace.

Fight for our beauty; protect our land.

Help us to cope in a challenging world,

Please give us a future;

it’s all in your hands.



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.



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 Cave Of Lions by David Calcutt

You must go deep

You must go by way of river and rockface

Squeezing yourself through the earth’s eyeslit

You must go far

Where the walls dance their spirals in the flamelight

Where your shadow goes dancing before you

On the bones of the dead in the house of dreams

You must go sacred

And the gentle claws will strip away your name

Strip hair skin strip flesh from bone

You must go naked

To the utmost chamber where they wait to receive you

And their heads are not lifted they are bowed they are lowly

Two of them caressing

As your shadow dancing caresses them

And where your finger makes its mark

There the lifeblood beats

There they spring forward out of their landscape

Where the hooves drum ecstatic

Where the world roars.