Relentless Optimism

Alan Rayner
Jan 1, 2021


‘Anew Leaf’ (Acrylic painting on board, plus found fallen maple leaf on paper, by Alan Rayner, January 2020) At the turn of the decade, I resolve to open up a new horizon, and to make a start by painting a new picture each month (NB in the end I didn’t succeed). I find a dead maple leaf in a gutter, beginning to disintegrate. I set out to resurrect it in the colours of freshly fallen autumn leaves, lifted up into clear blue sky, leaving behind its mirror image in a sky-filled hole.

There is something about relentless optimism

That fills me with despair


That endless boast of positivity

That denigrates its counterpart

As needless needfulness

That no one has the right to feel

As if no good can ever come

From admitting how we really are

As holes, not wholes* -

Vulnerable, fallible yet strangely capable beings

Requiring sustenance, care

Dare I say love

If the worst times are ever to become

The best of times


When the truth is

That love can only ever come to life

And thrive

When the call for help is heeded

Catalysing transformation

From struggling to survive

To radiant outburst

From receptive core





Alan Rayner

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