Friday, 15 February 2013

Lament for a Grasshopper

I have nothing against progress. Civilization would not have come far without it. At the same time, nature deserves better than to have us measure progress in terms other than material gain or cosmetic ‘improvement’. Nature protects us as well as giving us pleasure and breathing space to consider out options…

Nature is an inspiration, not just for artists and poets but for every man, woman and child in the street who seeks sanctuary sometimes, precious moments of peace and quiet away  from the frantic hustle and bustle of everyday life (and worse) in the modern world.

Yes, nature can be cruel, but perhaps humankind should look to its own archives before we enter into that argument.

Nature is a treasure beyond words, much of which we are in danger of losing forever; the more we lose, the less likely future generations will ever forgive us.

This poem is a villanelle.


Once I heard a grasshopper sing,
heard the dawn chorus…
where now, trucks thundering

I have heard bluebells ring
sweet sounds of silence;
once, I heard a grasshopper sing

I saw a stream, twisting, turning,
haunted by otters…
where now, trucks thundering

I have watched birds mating
in leafy trees;
Once, I heard a grasshopper sing

There used to be a graceful flying
of kingfishers…
where now, trucks thundering

Needs must, called ‘progress’
through the centuries;
once, I heard a grasshopper sing
where now, trucks thundering

[From: A Feeling for the Quickness of Time by R. N. Taber, Assembly Books, 2005]

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