Beautiful Ruin

I wrote my first piece of pseudo-slam poetry.  It was inspired by two of my favourite authors and their wonderful books about nature and people – J.B. MacKinnon (The Once and Future World) and Jay Griffiths (Wild: An Elemental Journey).

The story is a British view of the natural world that includes a lot of my own thoughts and experiences that have been put into new perspective over the last few years.


A man makes a living hauling in sharks, which are

Robbed of their fins,

Thrown back alive,

To sink to the sea bed.


In doing so,

He transforms his beautiful world

Into a ruin.

A man stalks a lone rhino for days,

Brings down the beast,

He takes the horn

And lets the vultures have their feast.

In doing so,

He transforms his beautiful world

Into a ruin.

A small army of men drive into the forest

Machines to cut

Fires to burn

In place of the forest, a palm oil plantation.

In doing so,

They transform their beautiful world

Into a ruin.

Such wasteful destruction we cannot bear!

Africa should be home to prides of lions,

The Amazon should hide jaguars in its forests,

The Arctic should belong to the polar bear.

And the people who live there?

We expect them to preserve this beautiful world.

But we forget.

10,000 years ago, great beasts roamed our land!

Mammoths, tigers, bears, wolves, bison –

Wiped out by our greedy, fearful selves.

Our forests were cut,

Our land burned.

We transformed our beautiful world

Into a ruin.

In the North Sea, a fisherman pulls in his net,

The haul lands on deck with a wet


Discards what he can’t sell

Left with the cod – well – the tiddlers that pass for cod in a world where we resort to eating these small fry because we’ve forgotten what real cod used to look like!

Our seas were trawled,

Our rivers were tamed,

And we lost ourselves in the ruin.

How many children can tell an ash from an elm?

How many know that rabbits and grey squirrels and rhododendrons are not a natural part of our landscape?

How many have experienced

The beauty of a flutter of butterflies dancing lazily in the sun,

The joy of a scamper of red squirrels among the pines,

The wonder of watching an otter bob gently on the waves, cracking a sea urchin on its belly

With a rock.

All is not


There is still beauty to be found here.

The ruin can be a foundation

For a new, wonder-filled world.

How much richer our lives can be!

Walk off the trail and take a stroll among the trees.

Tall, smooth-barked pines

And fragrant juniper bushes that scratch your ankles.

Fill your nostrils with the scent of the woods!

You can find yourself here

In a way that you nowhere else could.

How much richer our lives can be!

Imagine the thrill of seeing a wolf

Dart through a clearing – then vanish in the trees!

Your heart beats faster?

Embrace what it means to be human.

Find your wildness.

In wildness, truth.

We don’t have to accept the world our ancestors have left us.

We don’t have to leave a ruin to our children.

We choose our own future.

And we can transform our beautiful world.

– Anna

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