Pressing: Ekphrastic Challenge 2, 2024


a person in a yellow raincoat stands looking across a river of debris to a rainforest

Pressing by Jo Curtain

We have published the works of the following 26 writers, and again we applaud the students from Mount Waverley Secondary College for their enthusiasm and fabulous contributions. 

Jan Price | Geoffrey Gaskill | Harry Roberts | Jo Curtain | Catherine Bell | Mary-Jane Boughen | Bev Blaskett | Ian Stewart | Jim Fyfe | Adrian Brookes | David Jones | Arya T | Dulara J | Saakhi B | Abram W | Fern Smith | Guenter Sahr | David Bridge | Gail Griffin | Allan Barden | Claudia Collins | John Heritage | Pauline Rimmer | Kerstin Lindros | Adam Stone | Thea Adams

Panic         © – Jan Price


I drag yellow

bright yellow

the only yellow

coat out of the river

of multi clothed stones;

its hood is yellow

yellow like sun

like a brush of butter

hot on the run

it stops blobbed

on my shoulders;

drips down sleeves

waiting for rain

halts at my wrists

mid thighs

leaving my knees


with yellow

like two thin

sausages skinned

by the howling

hunger in the forest

above the ridge

attracted to the smell

of yellow.


By Jan Price




It was once her special place. She remember feeling its …

… magic.

It was the only word for it.

There was always a warmth here. An eternal summer of childhood. Golden light, cool breezes

redolent of the sweet sourness of rot, wood and greenery.

But today she wasn’t warm.

She felt … blue.

Her Moon River, wider than a mile … It had once been her own Nile or Mississippi. Like the

real ones she’d read about in books. Birds once swooped across its surface, filling the hollow

in her heart like they filled the forest and its vastness.

Back in the day, she’d felt small and large, here. Significantly insignificant. Humble. She was

part of a greater something in the cool warmth of the place.

But not today.

The place had become … depressing.

Sure, the trees were still here, soaring into the sky, pointing uncountable, accusatory fingers

at clouds and sun.

So, how could being in the company of these giants, also make her feel … lonely?

Her eyes followed those woody fingers heavenward. Better to look there than at the water

at her feet with its fern-lined banks, dark and creepy.

She’d never liked ferns. They kept too many secrets. They had agendas all their own.

Unlike trees.

Now here in this, her favourite childhood place, where that beautiful antipodean Nile or

Mississippi had once swelled in its tumescence, all around was heartbreak.

To younger eyes, the place took her breath away.

But today, her breath caught in her throat.

… My-God-what-have-they-done? …


By Geoff Gaskill



Can you see me?


Can you see me?

I’m in my garden. Focus on the verdant, clean, crisp and lush forest.

Once I was the young boy in the yellow coat: innocent to world’s tragedies, follies of man and environmental vandalism. Then, I looked beyond the discarded waste, carelessly and thoughtlessly dumped in the riverbed. Nature’s glory shone, beyond the pollution, and my life’s mission of restoration became clear. Throughout my life, and even now, my desire to fight environmental degradation and civilisation’s rubbish, is unwavering.

Can you see me?

I’m tending my garden amongst the mountain ash and ferns. See the fingers of filtered light penetrate the majestic canopy of the world’s tallest flowering plant – the sturdy mountain ash. Notice the straight saplings reaching toward the sun to grow into arboreal maturity. Observe the soft and delicate beds of tree and ground ferns carpeting the inclined forest floor.

Can you see me?

I’m in the understorey, feeding oxygen, calcium, carbon, phosphorous and even some potassium and sodium to everything that grows. That is my immortal mission. I share my world with microbes and armies of forest insect species that pollinate, defoliate and decompose. I give energy to my plants. My ashes are spread and scattered amongst the autumnal leaves. I’m Biblical prophecy enacted – ‘for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.’ (Genesis 3:19)

Can you see me?

Look, I‘m resurrected! There, in leaves and blossoms of trees, in fiddleheads and fronds of ferns, in buds and petals of flowers, and even in stems of grass tossed by wind’s vagaries. Here, I am at peace and at one with Nature. I’m resting in my forest garden home: my paradise, my arcadia, my Shangri La, my heaven, my Garden of Eden.

You CAN see me, and perhaps one day, I’ll see you.



By Harry Roberts


What Now?

By Jo Curtain



In darkness there is light


The night is heavy. Dark. Moonless.


I wander down towards the orchard, seeking the cool night air.

There are no visible shapes or shadows to guide my way across

the garden. Just blackness. Never-ending blackness. A world

without light. The inky firmament reaches down. It threatens to

smother me with its weighty mantle.


I look up, and through the darkness, see the brightest of stars.

Their incandescent, indecent displays shimmer and sparkle like

a vast sea of flickering candles. As though there is much to

celebrate, leaving no room for sorrow.


But I’m full of pain. My world has stopped.


The whip-cracking sounds of the ocean are carried on the night

breeze as I walk on further, down between the olive trees. The

gentler waves rumble and whisper. Their repetitive susurrations

calming and reassuring.


I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky.


I return to the house, drawn to its warmth and light. A lifetime

of memories confronts me, overwhelms me, sends me on

another downward spiral of grief. Seemingly impossible to

climb back to the light, to life, to happiness again.


The bleakest times are the small hours before dawn when the

earth still slumbers. Eventually, I fall into a fitful sleep and the

darkest of nights ends.


The sun rises early full of promise.


The eastern sky greets me with a palette of wild primrose and

buttercup light. A Superb Fairy Wren flits amongst the branches

and pink blossom of the Crab Apple Ioensis.


A reminder to seek solace in nature, to find my true compass

again, my true self. To step beyond the shadows, and let

happiness in.


The doorbell rings. Young voices burst into the solitude.


‘We’ve come to check on you, Grandma.’


In darkness there is light.


By Catherine Bell



Amidst the tranquillity,

A dystopian scene of human waste.

An advanced society,

Full of technological devices,

That can do wonders.


Yet, we care not,

Or not enough,

About our environment,

The trees,

The earth,

The surroundings,

Which nurture us,

Provide us with clean air.


With horror,

I survey the once pristine waterway

I had loved as a child,

And witness…

the nightmare of waste it has become.


By Mary-Jane Boughen



An additional 7-10 days of life 


We’re playing our part to grow even greener by reducing plastic waste

Recyclable at participating stores*

We are committed to reducing plastic packaging by 25% by end 2025

Reducing plastics from our supply chain

We’re working towards Own Brand product packaging being 100% recyclable, reuseable or compostable by 2025

We removed single-use plastic tableware (like cutlery, cups, plates, straws and bowls) from our shelves nationwide

Plastic cutlery attached at the point of manufacture are not included in the removal.

We are committed to making our packaging as sustainable as possible by reducing use of virgin plastic and increasing recycled content in our Own Brand packaging.

Even though sweet potatoes are a sturdy vegetable, a layer of plastic gives them an additional 7-10 days of life.

You can replace your single-use plastic bags with reusable bags using at least 80% recycled materials.

We are committed to helping Australians facing cost-of-living pressures by providing high quality produce at affordable prices [Annual profit is more than $1bn for Woolworths and Coles. The Guardian, 13 January 2024]

We now have a new range of 52 alternative products made from more sustainable materials available.

We’re happy to share this journey towards a greener future with you.

Scientists analysed 62 placental tissue samples and found … polyethylene, … used to make plastic bags and bottles. A second study revealed microplastics in all 17 human arteries tested and … may be linked to clogging of the blood vessels. [Microplastics found in every human placenta tested in studyThe Guardian, 27 February 2024.]

Nanoplastics are so small they are very hard to count, but scientists estimated trillions were produced per litre [Bottle-fed babies swallow millions of microplastics a day, study finds, The Guardian. 20 October 2020.]

Shop the range.


By Bev Blaskett



Peace Molested


Mountain ash forest

Tree fern underlay

Majestic Eucalyptus regnans

Gentle Dicksonia antarctica

The royalty of Victorian mountainsides

Peaceful, centuries old, expectant

Of undisturbed  centuries to come

But came the human touch

Heavy-handed consumption

Objects discarded, unreuseable

A tide of refuse, a tsunami of rubber and rubbish

Approaching like lava


The yellow-clad observer looks on with dismay

How will it end?

Is it, like lava, unstoppable?

Can we rethink and reverse the destruction

And return such a scene

To its rightful state of balance and peace?


By Ian Stewart



Kevin felt the pressure. ‘One more day should do it’, he thought, climbing into the ute. The old home perched high on a small plateau looked up the pristine rainforest valley near Bellingen. Bishops Creek always flowed down one side and a dry rocky watercourse down the other. Inside that fork a cleared hectare was Kevin’s recycling yard.


Four piles of plastics, paper, metals, and timber, and one muddy pile of all of them covered the ground; the remains of Upper Thora Primary School, destroyed by flood water cascading down from Dorrigo. The fence stayed up supported by massive gums behind it. It caught everything like a giant colander, smashed and covered in mud.


Kevin had worked tirelessly to take it all away. It couldn’t all go to landfill. One truckload at a time up the narrow to Bishops Creek and the sorting began. Kevin’s partner Jo was the Upper Thora primary school principal, her first job since their move from Lara to escape the encroaching suburbia. Jo managed the disaster aftermath with the local community. Kevin dealt with the mountain of destroyed materials to help the rebuild.


Heading toward the home shed he saw the first large drop hit the windshield. Twenty metres on the rain was so heavy he could barely see. Jo refused a hug as he stripped off wet clothes. They both listened to the roar of rain on the roof. ‘Don’t worry, that old creek has never flooded,’ he said. Next morning they woke to light rain. The roar of water they heard was not rain on the roof. Bishops Creek and the old creek bed had joined up, now a fast-rising river.


Grabbing his yellow rain jacket Kevin ran. Pulling back the curtain, Jo watched him go thinking, ‘What’s so pressing?’


By Jim Fyfe



Pressing for Process


To the President, Geelong Writers


Dear Sir


In examining your picture, I note with great satisfaction the abundant indications of a well-developed consumer economy. Indeed, the copious flow of materials enables one to infer the scene not as a passing occurrence but as a sign of mature and enduring prosperity. Such an outlook must fill the breast of any who see it with a warm glow of contentment. Surely this image, and all the more due to its apparent geographical remoteness, must count as irrefutable evidence that we have scaled the peak of human achievement.


I must confess, however, to an initial misgiving. This arose from the picture’s background of untapped raw materials. In searching for a sign of exploitation of these resources I had to admit failure. Surely, I thought, this was not meant as a sop to those feeble minds that advocate a limit to consumption and seek to stay the tide of progress? Regrettably, I have heard individuals of that persuasion construe such unprocessed states as desirable—I believe the term they use is ‘natural beauty’, a raw condition which in their primitive view is worthy of preservation.


But how easy it is, at times, to overlook the obvious: ‘They also serve who only stand and wait.’ On reflection, that is clearly the status of those timber items that form your picture’s backdrop. After so many long years of growing to their prime, they are now all set for the cutting down and grubbing out that will at last begin their value-added existence. Thus you present them as emblems of impending embellishment, ready to attain their ultimate fulfilment of conversion into products and profit!


It is in such accomplishments that humankind can take true pride.


Yours faithfully,


Wranck Avariss


By Adrian Brookes



Withering Heights


I walk upon the flattened plain of ennui

a strange land, strewn with detritus

caught in the trespass of time

our past

shards of what was

washed in the reflux of cognition


The watcher peers from times clouded cloak

draped as it is

over the moment of now

to render the past

underscore of that portent

where imminent future lies

at the behest of what we have done.


Ahead tall trees grow side by side

evanesce into a scape of silhouettes

between darkened trunks

a pervasive mist curls

defies distinction

embowers me


I progress into a world of reflection

I, like the trees around me, seek the light

strive away from the sillage of past

though fed by fruits of its demise

from such fecundity

it is ours, to gather from the harvest of hindsight

yet we do not


We are lost in that pervasive mist

silhouettes of humanity

mindless creatures

who watch our world wither

leaves into the humus


Cumulative stain of despair

fixed by the mordent of apathy


within the reliquary

we call oblivion


Deep within the earth

terranes of time collide

a low rumble of disquiet

that gentle shudder of muscles awakening

adrenaline courses through hidden arteries

enormous intake of breath, in readiness


the earth fights back


Scared, lifeblood depleted

glaciers tumble

stripped of those trees

restorative water polluted


The balance of life and living things

suspended on its beam

pivotal point strains

signs of giving way

of collapse

into the waters of Lethe

to where we shall be no more


the battle begins


Hidden in dark and silence

below the surface of a placid sea

the first rift, a flex of dormant strength

a shockwave upward and outward

a mountain of water

to crash against the land mass


against man….


By David Jones





I’m drowning.

The four cruellest words anyone could have ever been said to me have been said.

They thought her lungs would deteriorate.

They didn’t deteriorate.

They thought the path to recovery wasn’t there.

It was there.

They thought she wouldn’t be able to breathe after a while.

She breathed alright.

They thought she would be okay.

She’s dead.

But alas, the cycle of life moves on.

And every day, I find some type of litter or another, roosted jubilantly on her headstone.

There is no manual for grief that will tell you that hearing the word, ‘cancer’, or someone saying their birthday is May 15 or your parents saying, ‘get over it and focus on your studies’, will set you off.

Maybe someone will make one sooner or later.

Page number one should say, ‘Don’t pollute. Because, you never know that YOUR plastic bag could be the reason a little child – animal or human – choked and died. You never know if your factory’s carbon dioxide will be someone else’s death sentence.’

She was going to recover.

She was going to be discharged.

We were going to go back to being us.

A pair.

The dynamic duo.

The terrible two.

But then she inhaled some factory’s billow of smoke, ate some fish that apparently happened to have plastic inside it and died.

What a relapse.

Do better, humanity.


By Arya T



the boy in the yellow raincoat


lemons and butter and sunflowers galore

  a shade so bright on the evergreen floor

spindly trunks support the leafy canopy

perched on lofty branches, birds sing their melodies

matching yellow gumboots march through mud

past the bubbling brook

and all is merry until-


the serenity cracks

fragments scattering almost as fast

as the wildlife themselves

Such strange noises

Do not faze such a strange boy

and his curiosity is his curse

‘Alas!’ Cries the startled lad,

‘What a frightening noise!’

‘What ever shall I do…?’

he turns to the raven

preening it’s glossy plumage

with no care for strange noises

or strange boys

‘Why good day, sir!’

A bored amber eye peeks out from the

ebony ruffles and the ivory beak tuts

‘I say…do you think I should, perhaps, investigate?’

A cursory squawk is received.

‘Hmm…I think I will.’

And off he goes

To find the source of disruption.

Upon his arrival,

The boy is subsequently mystified

by what awaits him

‘Plastic!’ Exclaims he;

‘Plastic, Plastic and more Plastic!’

Eyes as wide as saucers

He stares down the path of garbage

Pressed flat like stepping stones

he recoils from the toxicity

‘What is the meaning of this!’

Shouts he,

Not expecting an answer;

For so long he has gone without one

‘Landfill, mate.’

The boy clutches his coat closer

At the sight of a large burly man

Twirling tobacco deftly

Between his stubby fingers

‘No NO NO!’

The hairy caterpillar

Resting on the man’s brow

Moves up and down

In a bizarre dance

‘Problem, mate?’

The boys fingers scrabble uselessly

At nothing


‘How…how can you destroy such a beautiful thing with this…trash?’

‘Nowhere else to put it.’

‘That’s no excuse!’

‘But’s it’s true, innit?’

Almost immediately…

He knows.

We cannot be saved.


By Dulara J




The bland colours of garbage float in the river.

You know what people said?

It’s nothing.

But it wasn’t.

When the river filled itself with rubbish, they said it was nothing.

But it wasn’t.

When people began to die because of the contamination, they said it was nothing.

But it wasn’t.

They blamed one another, when people died, claiming it was murder.

But it wasn’t.

Pollution. This wasn’t the cause, they would say.

But it was.


This was what they were.



They were the reason for their own destruction.

But they didn’t care.

A pressing matter people would say.

But they did nothing.

They said it was a matter of life and death.

But they did nothing.

They said they would do something.

They didn’t.

It started with a single can.

But it wasn’t one.

Everyone had gasped and taken it out the moment it appeared.

But they did not care.

The litter expanded.

The carelessness expanded.

They called out.


This once untouched river flowed without care, bringing serenity to the people.


The people once stood at the bank of this river praying and bathing.


Now a sign of human waste.


They will not look at it.


It is just another one of their mistakes.


The arrogance of humans will only lead to desolation.




This is the future cry of ignorant humans.


Once more.




By Saakhi B



Officially the world is fine


Officially the world is fine.

Officially the mountains of stone and earth, replaced with plastic isn’t an issue.

Officially the wild storms and fires aren’t that important.

But we think it is.

So they pretend.

Just as fake as those greenwashing companies

Just as plastic as our bags.

Just as ignorant as they’ve always been.

Things are dying.


By Abram W



Pulp fiction


Black print ink on trees felled


From forests old

Load onto trucks

Pushed through the chippers

Placed on clippers

Headed for Japan

Re-mashed and hashed

Pulped bleached and flattened

Water wasted


I now write on a virtual page

Evaporated from salt ponds

Carcasses floating down stream

Lithium better than pulp paper?


Mulberry paper

Fire coal ink

Scratch with quill


A fictional story

As a child ponders in forested land

Watching the ants passing on a log


Let a moment sit still.


By Fern Smith



Gaia’s Lament



By Guenter Sahr



Survey Report


It was on the second day of our trek into the southern forest that we encountered the object of our search.  It was the stale air rather than the torrent itself that warned us: the smell of eucalypt and damp earth gave way to the pungency of decaying petrochemicals and composting cellulose such as is common above the great wastes surrounding the major cities.

As we gauged the extent of our find using survey drones, we speculated on what new knowledge this refuse might reveal. In virtually every spent civilisation, the measure of social development is most often revealed in what is thrown away.

Our samplers fed us their preliminary break-down of content based on comparison with survey results from across the planet. Container materials made up the vast bulk, the emblems of the great trading dynasties still evident on most.  The coding patterns not broken down by UV or microorganisms revealed what many once held, typically devices assessed as in common use within family units. Bulky labour-saving machines for cleaning mixed with others for food preparation or hygienic storage. Other packaging emphasised a lifestyle fixated on visual display, likely accompanied by audio stimulation given the extensive analysis of the physical characteristics of the dominant species.

Clearly, these were beings of some sophistication, and yet prior to their sad demise, they had failed to develop an adequate system for processing their industrial by-products, other than creating great middens, particularly among the poorest sectors of the world’s populations.

Having transmitted our findings and thoroughly disinfected our equipment, we donned our shrouding garments and retraced our route to the transporter, grateful to be once again immersed in the sights and smells reminiscent of home, but careful not to interact with distant cousins, still living in the fronds, lest we disrupt their evolution.


By David Bridge



My Dying Wish


Born just on thirty years ago, I’m extremely lucky to have lived longer than most of my contemporaries. To live in this rainforest, in burrows, by the banks of a once moderately fast-flowing stream, is probably the closest, one like me, can get to utopia on this planet.

Nothing beats being surrounded by the soundscape of tropical rain that drips and drains from the canopy of trees. The smell of wet foliage. Or breathing in the fresh, clean air that circulates. Or basking in the brilliant rays of sunshine that filter and strike the silken webs suspended between trunks.  And, the animal life! Birds and butterflies. Insects, ants and invertebrates. Mammals and reptiles. Snails and leeches even. Not many of us are lucky as predators to have fish and animal carcasses freely available, along with woody debris, algae and leaf litter. I’ve always done my best to help the aquatic nutrient cycle.

During my time here, I’ve experienced all the threats that humans and other alien species have inflicted upon me. I’ve survived countless ‘expert’ interventions, overfishing, damming, climate change and deforestation–even the ash and fire debris run-off from wildfires. But, it’s the abandoned, discarded litter that’s accumulated on the surface of the stream, entangling, injuring and drowning marine wildlife like me. The impervious layer is now so thick that it’s slowly pressing down and smothering me. The cause of my imminent death.

I’m gasping for air… My gills are heaving.

Late spring. Early summer. Favourite times. Fitting that I’ll draw. My last breaths now. Really struggling here. Mated back in May. Need to … aaahhh. Release the fifteen hundred or so hatchlings. Nurtured. Under my tail. Hope they’ll survive. Become juveniles. Become adult blue crayfish. Dying wish? Litter-free future. Agonal breathing’s kicked in.  In. Out. In Out. Aaahhh…


By Gail Griffin 





Barbara had always been a vibrant, energetic person, but lately she found herself sinking into a heavy, dark depression. Simple tasks were overwhelming and her world seemed bleak and unappealing.

Her psychologist suggested that she incorporate regular exercise into her routine. She had always been relatively active with golf, walking, tennis and occasionally the gym, but had let them all go.

Hesitatingly, Barbara laced up her running shoes and headed to the local forest. The first few days were a struggle, but she persevered. Sometimes she stopped to observe the forest trees that she hadn’t really noticed before. Among the forest trees she started to feel alive. They brightened her mood as they changed colour through the seasons. Slowly, the rhythm of her stride on the forest paths became a calming mantra. She began to sleep better.

If only briefly, the blackness that engulfed her mind and body seemed to lift. She joined a Pilates class where she found comfort and calmness in each exercise and in the friendly, supportive social environment. Sometimes on a run she would stop and perform some of the exercises among the trees.

Over time Barbara’s depression began to loosen its noose and she realised that regular exercise had once again become an important part of her life. She knew that exercise wasn’t a magic cure-all, but it was a powerful tool. The darkness would return occasionally but in the consistency of her exercise regime she had found a way to keep it at bay, if only sometimes, for a brief moment in time.

Barbara had learnt that the path to healing could be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. And the forest trees. Oh, the wonderful, wonderful forest trees. They helped.


By Allan Barden





I embrace the mornings. Most days, I beat my alarm. Out of bed—toilet, teeth, shower, hair. I dress in my lycra, and then—out the door. I jog by the glow of the street lights. Pre-dawn, a soft grey mist, blends with the uniformity of the grey homes in the housing estate where I live. My feet pound the pavement—my heartbeat, a metronome. Song lyrics are inside my head—I’m running, running towards you, I’m running, I run away from you.


Sunrise, try as it might, can never catch the night. I leave the suburban streets behind me—pink and golden clouds drift by as the sun peeks over the hills. I never deviate from the bush track I follow daily. The area, once goldfields, is littered with old mine shafts. There are stories of people who have disappeared—accident, or foul play?


Cicadas chirp in the summer haze as the sun climbs higher. I increase my pace down the hill toward the creek. I don’t need ear buds, birdsong fills my soul. They fly from tree to tree gossiping with their friends. Kookaburras laugh at life—and death?


Water burbles over the rocks. The plants are different here. Lush green tree ferns, fishbone ferns, maidenhair, and other varieties I cannot name. The trees grow close, moss and lichen cling to their trunks—peace within me.


The hill becomes a cliff, shadowing the creek. The track narrows. It twists and turns through the rocky ground. I slow to avoid tripping. The sun disappears behind a cloud. The birds fall silent. I take another step. Too late to turn back—I sense … danger.


He steps out from behind a large boulder. He is wearing a yellow plastic raincoat and hat—ludicrous, but for the gun in his hand.


By Claudia Collins



Pay Later


By John Heritage





I had set out for an easy two-hour trek in the high country of Victoria. Twenty-four hours later, I was hopelessly lost. My phone battery had died, but I was confident I would be found quickly. My hopes were dashed by the onset of darkness, forcing me to find shelter. The morning light showed a low-hanging mist, and my teeth chattered as I brushed the leaves aside. I hadn’t slept much, if at all. There were too many scary noises in the bush at night, plus I could not get warm despite my attempt at a leaf blanket. I was glad of my waterproof jacket. It was bright yellow, so I should be easy to spot by searchers. I was tired and hungry. Crawling out from beneath the bushes, I disturbed a rabbit. I would have eaten it if given half a chance. There was nothing for it but to keep heading down the mountain toward town. Several times, I had been forced to turn back because of rough terrain. I had no idea how far I had walked but continued to follow the river. I Cooeed occasionally but heard no answering call. My water was nearly empty, but I had the river, so I wasn’t worried. Despite my situation, I was enjoying this pristine wilderness. I could see a clearing ahead and upped my pace. I stumbled out of the trees and stopped in shock. Here were the signs of humanity, but not what I had expected. There was a river of rubbish! The forest had been defaced by discarded tyres and other trash. It made me sad and angry to be part of this human race who vandalised nature so offhandedly. Turning my back on the carnage, I followed the truck tracks toward civilization.


By Pauline Rimmer



land under – a sermon to self and all


we used to sit by the pure little creek

in the lush soft grass at the end of the week


we used to cherish the beauty we saw

and gazed at earth’s guardian trees in awe


we allowed it to swell to a furious stream

unawares, as strange as this may seem

ignored the tangled, foul-smelling mass

the trail of destruction left behind by progress

a twist in the tale that we did not expect

and so the scene remained unchecked


a force, relentless and still winning

until we find a new beginning


and stop to worship earthly goods

so we can save our precious woods


we cry out, ‘CRIMINALS!’ and judge

we wave our finger at others so much


but a look in the mirror will expose

that we’re all guilty of these lows


and show us it’s time to see the crisis

may we wake up, as the image entices


us to unite and reclaim the land

let’s pull our heads out of the sand


By Kerstin Lindros





Scabby knees nobble towards the core of the forest.

The wind slows to a tickle on the pine needles.

Big Brother leads the way, all of twelve years old. Three boys of single-digit age meekly follow.

As they close in, the sky darkens above; the sunlight refused entry by the forest giants.

Through a clearing, they spot the well. Has laid dormant for years. A small tombstone to the right confirms why.

They approach from the left, careful to keep their distance, hearts in their mouths.

The smell of sweat and dirt and pine mix to create a cocktail of nervous adolescence.

Suddenly, a noise. Only faint but freezes them to the spot. A bird foraging? A twig breaking? Did it come from the well? One of the boys is sure it came from the well.

They didn’t hang around to find out and ricocheted out of the clearing back into the forest as fast as frantic legs could carry them.

The legend grew, tall tales abound.

The boys never did return to the well.


By Adam Stone



The peaceful sound of silence

Except for the putter of rain on the canopy high above.

Tall tree trunks making God’s cathedral

To revive the spirit,

To restore the soul’s balance.

The perfect environment for relaxation.

But…look down!

The trickling brook packed with waste,

Detritus of generations,

Rubbish of society.

Stuff cast aside without thought without caring.

No excuse now,

No lack of knowledge now.

Restore the wilderness before its death

So the wilderness can continue to restore society.


By Anthea Adams

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