Bill Fitzsimons


The rivers are dying, slowly.
Day by day the levels are dropping,
revealing a parched landscape
of cracked earth and ancient litter.
The reservoirs are at their lowest
in years and soon a state of emergency
will be declared. Fresh water
will be strictly rationed
while the fat cats get richer
and the rivers continue to die, slowly.


For two hundred years, my mottled trunk
has stood its ground in this arbour of oaks;
my limbs have supported a canopy of leaves
and birdsong. Worms have sieved the soil
around my roots, beetles nested in my bark.

Season after season, I’ve endured the assaults
and blessings of fickle weather, the blazing sun
at noon, the chill caress of winter, autumn’s ravishment.
I have seen stars pulsing in the night sky, constellations
flicker with cold fire. Rain has cooled my parched hide.

I have sheltered the squirrel and the crow,
fed the earth with the compost of fallen leaves,
waved my branches in harmony with my kin –
brothers and sisters who share my woodland home.
We sing our songs of love and contentment.

But now, my peace is shattered, my heart bursts
with fear, for I have heard in the distance
the stuttering roar of engines flaring up –
the vicious whine of chainsaws and the sound
of splintering wood. Our Eden has found its serpent.

Bill Fitzsimons

Back to National Poetry Day – Environment poetry home page