• Beech Hill


Must we save the atoms, too?

Or only when they’re constellated like glaciers, or bears,

Great Bears, atoms assembled from stars?

What about the stars?

What about electromagnetism, gravity?

Must we teach the rivers

or tell the birds when and how to fly?

Why haven’t we replaced the bees?

With Vitamin D and UV, who now needs sunshine?

Does Prometheus smile

or cry?

The harvests of the world are numbered.

Numbered, evaluated, counted,

counted upon,

counting down.

What is a seed bank?

The seeds are disappearing. Forgotten, designed to fail

or harried and hurried

into evolutionary cul-de-sacs

of ‘improved’ genetics, and ‘reliable’ clones.

By what metric?

Who decides?

Which of us chose to be born?

To whom?

What is a seed bank?

The topsoil is failing -

nuked, molested, washing away.

Who created topsoil,

whole rich, dark feet of topsoil?

Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, stardust to stardust.

What civilisation lasted forever?

What lasts forever?

The harvests of the world are numbered.

What is the destination?

Why hold so tight to what we think is ours,

what we think is real?

Who created wheat? Barley? Rice?


Who designed the eye, the ear, the organs of love?

Who made Ozymandias king?

King of what?

For how long?

What is a seed bank

if not the living soil of growth and decay

and changing, changing, changing?

What use a seed bank

in a desert world

amongst rocky places, acid, salt?

If life fails, will life fail?

If no thing lasts, will some thing be last?

Who gave birth to earth? To Earth?

Who is responsible for it? For her? For him?

Who wants to take responsibility

for everything that is?

Who planted the old forests?

Whence came the first seed?

“In a song a note follows the one before

because it is that song

and not another one.”

Why must it be other than it is?

How can it be other than it is?

What note shall follow this one,

the one after that?

What is our song becoming?

What is the song of our becoming?

What seeds are we planting now

in houses of dry ice

or in moist, breathing soil?

In ourselves?

In each other?

What mother can expedite her 9 months?

What child is without a mother? Without a father?

Without a mother? Without a father?

Who’d choose the test tube, given the choice?

Who gives us the choice?

What are we choosing?


The harvests of the world are numbered.

The insects are dying.

Why haven’t we replaced the bees?

Saved the bees?

Saved ourselves?

Who breathes alone?

Who owns the wind?

Who can steal breath?

What use rushing to the next,

the next,

the last?

Are the trees rushing?

Do whales tire of swimming?

Is the dawn chorus only a daily chore?

The river does not crave the ocean.

Who decides who lives and who dies?

Who has decided when they will die?

Who chooses whom they love?

What are the limits to love?

What love diminishes in the loving?

What inspires?

What won’t expire?

What is a seed bank?

Must we save the atoms too?


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