My first poem (for want of a better word) was written in the autumn of 1973 during the earlier part of my secondary school days.
It actually found its way into the Kendal Grammar School’s school magazine for 1974. A copy of it was retained by a family elder, so I now have the pleasure of embarrassing myself by publishing it here – its phrasing, meter and over-dependance on rhyming couplets are ‘strictly schoolboy’ as is its naïve expressionism. Still, I like to think that it shows my environmental credentials as a fourteen-year-old (I’d first read Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring as a ten-year-old, more than fifty years ago, when still at primary school).
Clearly I was no Greta Thunberg, but at least I did manage to anticipate the global threat to bees through pesticide use, which isn’t too bad! The bit about global nuclear destruction has to be read in the context of the cold-war era, but ironically in 1973, the year the poem was written, we find that:
“The [Doomsday] clock reached the farthest it has ever from midnight, an hour and six minutes, due to increased peacekeeping actions by the United Nations, and because an intern accidentally set it back an hour for daylight savings time.” (Keaton Patti)
So, here in all its glory is…
THE BEGINNING OF THE END
Spring has sprung, the grass is ris,
I wonder where the birdies is?
They have been killed, they are all dead
From eating poisons that have been spread
To kill the insects, that ruin our crops:
Barley, malt, wheat and hops.
Smoke and dust and chemicals are abundant in the air.
Getting in our eyes and ears, in our skin and in our hair.
We will soon be sending rubbish to Venus, Pluto … Mars,
It will choke our Solar System then strangle all the stars.
Before we start we must stop this place
From sending rubbish into space.
But down on earth it is bad enough,
When one looks around and sees all this stuff
Killing the wildlife, the plants and the trees.
And you hear no more the hum of the bees.
The ‘A’ and the ‘H’ bombs, make us all sick
And the world will be flattened unless something’s done quick.
For with nuclear fall-out no-one can win,
And everyone pays for that tragic sin.
Nobody talks of the great many things
That loving compassion so often brings.
Time springs not eternal and neither does youth,
So now is the time to face up to the truth.
We have poisoned this planet and with it shall die,
Like a star that has shone and sunk from the sky.
This is the Alpha of Omega, the beginning of the end
For this world we ”live” in, unless our ways mend!