Tag Archives: Ecology


you spit. 
you accuse.

You snap stems,
discard seed,
grasp leaves, dig dirt 
until each root is forcibly freed, 
or maybe you apply herbicide
for ease

"Die, weed, die
you cry with glee. Double dahlias
are what we need. Chemical feed
will raise crowds of blowsy blooms
from cultivated seed"

Bees leave
to seek pollen that they
can reach

Along steamy streets
pockets of green tickle pavements
reaching to conceal heaped waste
which feigns
innocent sleep

Beyond greedy shops,
magnates' dreams emigrate overseas 
to where labour is cheap, and workers 
too poor to complain. 
Industrial relics rot in the rain, 
Britain's shamed industry, obsolete. 
Filth, obscenely tipped into rivers,
fails to biodegrade.

Far from plastic parade and urban decay, 
wide roads surrender to narrow lanes,
white lines submit to green blades, and hedgerows
exhibit kinship between living species,
yet earth's tilth 
tips into sickness; trees strain
to erase our mistakes 
and seasons
struggle to progress.

A frayed leaflet
flitting in the wake of a chance breeze

Which Path Will You Take?

©Jane Paterson Basil

Paul’s Words


Can it be our planet breathes?
It breathes through weeds and leaves on trees.
It seems to need to seed and breed
to please the needs of human greed.

So does it bleed through birds and bees
to feed our breed, bloodthirsty thieves!
The worst of fiends, the first to leave
and deemed to scream and curse and bleed.

©Paul David Ward

I’d have been proud to have put my name to this amazing poem, but alas, I don’t have the right, since it was written to my son Paul.

After a separation of almost fourteen months, we are now in contact again. He lives 45 miles away, and we agreed that at this stage in his recovery it would be safest for both of us if we don’t see each other yet – not that the current lock-down rules would allow it – but we text each other every day. He’s had a difficult time, but has grown from it. He managed to get several thoughtful birthday gifts to me in February, and even bought me a tree for Mother’s Day, but by then the restrictions were in place, so I haven’t received it yet. I feel proud of how far he’s come, and hopeful for the future.

Winter Cocktail


At cocktail hour when summer fails
bright colours vacate to the Mediterranean
Skies slide into leaden grey,
grumpily gunning to fulfil a bleak threat of rain,
their perfidious clouding slyly announcing
that dusk is well on its way.

Brittle twigs cling to knotted limbs.
Catatonic in the bitter air,
their scribbled criss-crosses laid bare,
bereft of the layered frock that veiled
the bland dwellings which crouch, blind-eyed
beneath my lofty window.
Spring’s brave growth crumbles to mulch,
all pride, grace and levity faded away,
its flesh consumed for future gain.

I pause mid-thought, my mind
resorting to fantasy:
might these spectral skeletons recall
to make safe hiding places for fledgling birds?
Perhaps they remember saluting the June day sun
their emerald hands swaying in celebration,
and nudged by a temperate summer wind
dancing, jiving, twirling.
Perhaps they relive
the betrayal, the brittle break,
the skittering fall.
Maybe they grieve, and yearn
the loss of green youth.

©Jane Paterson Basil

One Humble Limb


Might I suggest that this planet
is a single organism.
Trees and all manner of green things
are its organs, and we are its limbs, broken
over time by a parasitic aspect which seeped
through our skin, expanding
with each generation.

No doubt, so called lesser creatures
each have their place. Most step lightly, while
we complex beings employ our grasping brains to crack
and defile the soil, even as it feeds us; to destroy
the organs that supply the air we breathe;
to hate and kill our sibling limbs.

Without prejudice,
we torture our own bodies,
absorbing all manner of toxins
to satisfy our appetites and greed,
forever finding new ways to endanger
our health and this abundant earth’s
very survival.

We misread our purpose,
and even when we discern a glimmer
of sense, we appear hard-wired
to continue the cycle.

Hampered by weakness,  I try
to live a better way, often failing,
always knowing my insignificance in the scheme.
Yet if I die having admitted into my heart
genuine love and compassion
toward all members of each race and every creed,
no matter how our views might disagree,
my life will have been worthwhile.

Having ceased to be a parasite,
perhaps I’ll be satisfied.

What would be your answer to the question  in exercise 18 of Calen’s Sandbox Writing Challenge


If you could foresee one accomplishment in your future, what would you like it to be?

©Jane Paterson Basil



one grey feather;
an essential component
constructed of delicate fronds
that, like a zipper, gently interlock
on two opposite sides
of a pointed spine.

one lonely feather,
alienated from its design
to keep a bird warm and dry
and lend a lightness to its flight,
sinks, untrammelled,
in the steely sky.

one tiny feather;
floating in the sky;
dancing for its freedom;
swirling in the mild firmament,
being manipulated; mindlessly lifted
by the changeling wind’s whispering might,
in a losing battle for a feather so light;
just for an instant it appears
to be putting up a brave fight,
but the wind has lost interest
and is off to find a new game,
leaving the grey feather
to sink,spinning,
to the earth.

One fallen feather
held between my fingers,
one used-up, beautiful thing;
a single constituent of the wing,
an intrinsic piece of the jigsaw;
as valuable as a leaf, a bee
a whale, or an elephant,
and equally crucial;
equally strong;


Written for The Daily Post #Fragile

©Jane Paterson Basil

I don’t understand us

deforestation-405749_960_720.jpgwe can build a brain

and yet we cannot embrace

our weeping planet


submachine-gun-new60_720we can reach the moon

yet we cannot turn ourselves

away from hatred



caught up in the flow

we race toward our demise.

stop. stand still. listen.


planet-9.jpgearth sings without need

of our accompaniment.

we are out of tune


world-342-228.jpgwe know the answers

but we pretend that we don’t.

surely we can change.


Written for Calen’s Sandbox Writing Challenge #47  “What don’t you understand?” I don’t understand what is the matter with the human race. It’s taken us millions of years to advance to the stage where we can build a vehicle which is able to travel through space and reach the moon, and make a machine which, in a fraction of a  second will answer a mathematical question that would take an average human brain years to work out, and yet we still aren’t able to keep our planet or ourselves healthy.

©Jane Paterson Basil