Climate of Fear*

Professor Niyi Osundare. Photo credit: The Sun

By Niyi Osundare

The rains come

too late these days

and leave before their time

withering fields foretell

the coming of furious famines


Spring swallows summer

summer stumbles into a sweltering fall

while winter joins the fray

with snowy deluge and blinding ice


Unstoppable fires consume the skies

from Kangaroo Island** to Paradise***




A melting Arctic chokes the oceans

which claim the coasts and bury the cities

just one whittling whistle from the catacombs

of coral reefs bleached and buffeted

by a plague of acid and plastic debris


Once-in-a-century hurricanes

proliferate into ten-in-a-year

while countless typhoons pummel the peace

of  once Pacific regions


Birds are falling from the sky

lizards roasting on their rocky perch


Out of balance, out of breath

our Planet gasps and groans

as  murky moons wobble their way

across the wilderness of a broken sky . . . .




The earth we used to know

is once-upon-a-time.


*From Green: Sighs of an Ailing Planet, the author’s forthcoming book of poems

**An island in South Australia famous for its beauty and abundant nature reserves. It was one of the causalities of the Australia fires of 2019/2020.

***A town in California, destroyed by wild fires in 2018.