Democracy in action


I thought that I should never see
This triumph of democracy;

Our voices raised across the land
Forced ministers to stay their hand,

And cancel plans to sell our oaks
And other trees to greedy blokes

Who only see the beech and ash
And chestnut as a source of cash

And would have curbed our ancient right
To walk the woodlands. So in spite

Of pressures on the national purse
Our leaders paused, engaged reverse

And said that they had got it wrong
(As we had told them all along).

The law is made by fools, you see;
But only God can make a tree.

A follow-up to yesterday’s U-turn by the Coalition on its proposed national forestry sell-off. Alfred Joyce Kilmer’s poem ‘Trees’ has been parodied many, many times, most famously by Ogden Nash. I figured one more couldn’t hurt.

6 thoughts on “Democracy in action

  1. You’re right, Charles. What I’ve found interesting is that as a nation, we’d acquiesced to wars, public service cuts, tax rises, job losses, massive bank bailouts and all the rest with a shrug and a sigh; but it was a threat to our woods that finally got the country up in arms. Maybe there’s hope for us after all. And we’ve definitely sent a signal that, as you rightly say, we won’t be trifled with.

  2. In some kind of sick perverse way I am happy that the situation has come about that my kids can see that people are important. I truly worried about them growing up where everything had been handed to them on a plate. Where were the CND/Poll tax/Union/fox hunting marches? Where were the opportunities for my kids to realise that if they want something, they have to make sure their voice is heard? That one voice in a group of many becomes a big voice. I am still very, very sceptical about this particular situation (a good distraction, a sweetener?) coming at the same time as Larry the cat, before they hit us with a budget that will send many over the edge. But politics aside, you have done what too many poets forget to do, which is to mark a moment in time with a verse that becomes a pinprick in history. Where’s our poet laureate at times like this, haha… excellent job. And thank you for the challenge! I shall do my best. 🙂

  3. I think you’re right; this was a relatively easy ‘lose’ for Cameron et al, really, ahead of what’s likely to be a fairly bloody Spring Budget. Still, I’ll take what I can get from this bunch. Thank you for your very kind and affirming comment about the poem itself, too; most of the time I witter on about birds and trees and flowers and things, so it’s good for me to look beyond the end of my own nose sometimes. And I shall definitely need your support for this Lent Poem-a-thon I’m contemplating! Any news on your next open mic, BTW?

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