‘River Snake’ (acrylic painting on board by Alan Rayner, 2018) A painting recalling my childhood experience of colour, life and pattern during the dry season in Kenya

As I enter life’s evening of lengthening Shadow

And reddening afterglow

My prevalent feeling is far removed from contented

Mellow fruitfulness

.

It’s much more akin

To the empty promise of a lost and frightened Child

Blindfolded and gagged

Stumbling in a minefield of adulterated ground

Unsure of which way to turn

To find reassuring sense

.

I feel impelled to weep and scream and yell

‘What the Hell do you think you are doing?’

As I protest my innocence

Along with countless others

Before, with and after me

Compelled to dwell

In the wake of forbidding thought

That casts our souls adrift

From where we belong

In spirited kinship

.

Or forces us to comply

With unifying order

To be unseen and unheard

In homogeneous array

Excepting those who stand so proud

Above the common crowd

.

‘Where is the sense in this?’

I ask

Beneath my stifled breath

Reaching out for helping hand

.

But far too few

Come close enough

To make a difference

To the mess we’ve made of life

Gifted to us

In this amazing place on Earth beneath our feet

Air in our hair

Water coursing through and all about us

Fire spreading light and heat

.

All suffused

By the endless grace of space

Ever present

Silent stillness

The calm within our storm

.

Cannot this herd of great unheard

Find our feet

Raise our voice

Be seen for who we are

And sweep aside this contamination of sacred ground

By megalomaniacal minds

Hell bent by their will to power?

Alan Rayner is an evolutionary ecologist, writer and artist, who is pioneering the philosophy of natural inclusion

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