Spare a Thought

Michael Peach

    The modern world’s no global village
But city, plagued by men who pillage
And, due to ego much inflated,
Destroy the marvels God created.
So, friends, I beg you spare a thought
For Mother Nature sadly caught
Within the net of human greed,
As thought with time can gender deed.
    The chart below is incomplete –
More forms of life we may delete
Than those I place in this brief verse,
Unless we all combat the curse.
Still, better sparse than no such list;
Append the species I have missed
And those on which I do not dwell,
Since of their plight the pundits tell.
The dolphins; apes; wolves red and grey;
Big cats and pandas; birds of prey;
The gorgeous pythons, long and wide;
The massive whales that cannot hide;
The rhinos; hippos; crocodiles,
Who charm us with their tears and smiles;
The elephants; the polar bear:
These all attract the spotlight’s glare.
Yet keep their names within your heart,
While adding new ones from this chart.
And here’s a chance to spin a pun:
Of beasts less known Addax is one.
This antelope with twisted horns
That once fared well on Sahel’s thorns
Is now confined to war-torn Chad,
Where soldiers for her meat are mad,
And to Nigér – though few per cent –
Which sanctuary to her has lent.
Arabian Oryx in Oman
Was likewise saved by such a plan;
And Walia Ibex, mountain goat,
In former times so freely smote,
By hunters now is rarely harmed:
His Ethiopian guards are armed.
O give these governments due praise
For changing thus their former ways!
If every nation did the same,
What still is cruelly labelled game –
Such as the Warthog and Wild Ass,
By modern methods killed en masse
Not only could on earth survive
But also, like us humans, thrive.
    From fair Hawaii there is the tale
About the Little Agate Snail.
Of forty types but half remain,
And these are snatched, devoured, or slain
By tourists, rats, or snails that come
From foreign lands, and – well, in sum,
That typify Man’s negligence
And lack of ecologic sense.
While we are in Pacific space,
I should present the Albacore’s case.
This tunny fish by nature crosses
The sea, but with tremendous losses
Due to exaggerated trawling
By men who act from greed not calling –
As do the poachers in Florida,
Where Alligators common were.
Today it is well understood
How much these reptile kings do good
To Everglades’ environment.
Oh, for their loss let us lament!
Another creature slain for skin
Is Anaconda, found within
Forests of South America –
Themselves a deeply harmed milieu.
This mighty snake we have to save,
For with each death expands our grave.
Three further giants that men would kill
Have refuge only in Brazil;
The Emas Park on rich cerrado
For them, at least, is El Dorado.
Here Giant Armadillos potter,
Anteater Large and the Great Otter.
Yet many dangers do remain,
Including fire and lack of rain;
And lest the people of Brazil
Should seem to have a stronger will
Than most their heritage to keep,
Stay tuned, my friends, and start to weep.
For lack of rain there’ll surely be
Throughout the world, when every tree
In Amazon has been destroyed
And Earth’s great ‘lungs’ are rendered void.
The Arapaima, seven feet –
If killed not young by men for meat
(An early death’s his normal plight),
Is fished today with dynamite.
The campo land, cited before,
Was erst a home for Spix’ Macaw.
The last was seen, O tragic fate!,
With other species trying to mate.
The Maned Wolf, a tall fox in fact,
Is threatened too; his grassland wracked.
In forests close to sprawling Rio
Dwell golden monkeys, namely Leo
(Or Lion) Tamarins. When felled,
Their trees more dear than gold are held.
In Madagascar’s jungles lush,
Rapidly shrinking in the rush
By men to swell their gaping purse,
The Aye-Aye’s lot grows worse and worse.
If Man persists in being blind,
This wide-eyed lemur lost he’ll find.
The same applies to Barbary Ape,
Who from Man’s reach was forced to ’scape  
To Moroccan hills, then still secluded,
Which since of trees have been denuded.
In Europe the Greater Horseshoe Bat
Is waning, for the beetles that
She eats are also under threat
Because their habitat’s upset.
Sometimes the cause and the effect
Of damage can be less direct:
When Triton shells collectors steal,
Perhaps they know not in their zeal
That Tritons eat a starfish pest
Who munches Coral with great zest.
The future of the Bandicoot,
Though far from sure, at least is moot:
It seems most Aussies can accept
Unless savanna belts are kept
Not only do marsupials die
But ecosystems go awry.
Yet once again let flow your gall –
The Wombat, Numbat, Possum small
Will be divested soon unless
The forests, too, those folk redress.
    By now, my friends, it should be plain
The biosphere’s a subtle chain;
Destroy one link and we’ll arrest
The flow of lifeblood to the rest.
Malayan Tube-nose Bat’s protector
Of Durian plant, by taking nectar;
She likewise feeds on flowers gained
In Mangrove swamps now almost drained;
Meanwhile her caves for stone are blast –
So, thanks to Man, this bat won’t last.
And more fool him! the Durian fruit
Is good, and lucrative to boot.
And talking of commercial gain,
At times Man does apply his brain:
Andean Vicuna’s wool is farmed
Without this camel being harmed;
In high Tibet the frail Musk Deer
For perfume’s milked, and shows no fear;
And Hemp, rejected due to dope,
To eco-merchants offers hope.
If loggers exercised restraint,
Their money would be free of taint!
    But back we’ve come to human greed,
Betrayer of our rightful need.
Where parks exist the poachers thrive;
For ‘wealth’ illegal traders strive.
Ivory, skins, and turtle shell:
Their bearers’ fate we know too well;
Much less we think of frogs and birds,
Butterflies, plants – in other words,
Though these are slaughtered and transplanted,
Their future still we take for granted.
Ignore we also do pollution –
For where on earth’s the grand solution
To toxic fumes and global warming;
Nuclear waste; the seam that’s forming
Of plastic products made to last
So present won’t become the past;
Illustrious springs unfit for drinking;
Poisonous oceans, dead and stinking:
When we ourselves refuse to kill
The lifestyle which begets such ill!
In short, we’re trapped by our assumption
That wealth is married to consumption.
    Think of the birds mowed down by planes;
The damaged trees from acid rains;
The eggs and plants destroyed by jeeps,
Buggies, and bikes; the senseless beeps
Constantly present nowadays,
Wherever Man –  the monster – strays
While wiping out with pesticide
The insect world he can’t abide.
I shouldn’t need to tell again
How such fell deeds affect the chain;
And, though I could extend the list
With countless names, you have the gist.
Besides, my ‘clients’ can’t afford
That hearing this you may be bored;
So stop I shall before you yawn
Or pour upon my message scorn.
But first I must some creatures name
For whose extinction Man’s to blame
Post-Seventeen Hundred after ‘Christ’,
Though many more we’ve sacrificed:
The Dodo’s story’s all but stale,
Yet know you of Wake Island Rail?;
Tasmania’s ‘wolf’, the Thylacine,
Since ’Thirty-three has left no line;
Meek Steller’s  Sea Cow was deleted,
When sailors for her beef competed;
The Quagga zebra, and antelope
Called Blaubok simply couldn’t cope;
The Forest Tarpan (a wild horse)
And Auroch ox by human force
Were razed; A lovely parakeet
From Carolina’s obsolete;
The Passenger Pigeon flew – was flown! –
Into the darkness Man had sown. …
O let’s let eco-cops arrest
Those fools who foul our only nest!
    Throughout this speech I have inferred
That Man is one, and so have slurred
As well those peoples (now but few)
Who from God’s Garden never flew.
They take no more than what they need,
Thus letting fellow creatures feed
Or, if fair plants, unhampered grow
And therefore larger yields bestow.
Unselfish, their idea of time
Is cyclical – and thence the ‘chime
Of midnight’ that distracts the West
Deranges not their hours of rest.
So spare a thought for these good folk,
And force them not to share our yoke.
    A final warning let me add –
About a species surely mad:
I mean, alas, Promethean fools
Who think their ‘scientific’ tools
On God’s Creation can improve.
Checked not, they will all life remove.

11 May 1997

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