Letter to Earth

Dear Earth

I have some things I’d like to say, things I need to get off my chest
But feelings can be tricky, so I thought that pen and paper’s best
I’m writing you this letter, to explain myself, as best I can
And, not to spoil the surprise, but I’m just about your biggest fan

Part 1. I See You

If you were our mother, I wonder, would you be proud or sad?
Would you see our kindness, the good in our hearts, and be glad?
Would you rejoice in what we’ve achieved, the lessons that we’ve learned?
And what of the chances we’ve squandered, the bridges that we’ve burned?

I want to say: I see you!
Though, in truth, at times I close my eyes
For what we humans do sometimes makes me quite ashamed
We have inflicted our ugliness, peddled our lies
I only hope that what’s been lost still can be regained

I see your beauty, and how you have been scarred
Your jungles cut, your mountains mined, your grasslands charred
I see your bounty, and how you have been scammed
Your creatures killed, your airways choked, your rivers jammed

I want to say: I see you!
Your emerald forests and umber sands
Your sapphire oceans and azure skies
Your mountain peaks and frozen lands
Your coves and caves where mystery lies

Part 2. I Hear You

If you were our father, I wonder, would you be calm or mad?
Would you cherish our resilience, stand by our actions, good and bad?
Would you relish the battles we’ve fought, no matter if we lost or won?
And what of the havoc we’ve unleashed, the destruction that we’ve spun?

I want to say: I hear you!
Though, in truth, at times I block my ears
For what we people do sometimes leaves me quite disturbed
We have amplified our noisiness, trumpeted our fears
I only hope that what’s been hushed can one day be reheard

I hear your melody, and how you have been muted
Your chorus stifled, your voice muffled, your wisdom refuted
I hear your symphony, and how it turns to silence
Your songs distorted, your cries ignored, your peace met with violence

I want to say: I hear you!
Your singing whales and tweeting birds
Your shrieking storms and sighing breeze
Your howling wolves and grunting herds
Your roaring lions and creaking trees

Part 3. I’m Sorry

If you were our child, I wonder, would you be happy or furious?
Would you look forward to your future with bright unbridled hope?
Would you be carefree, would you play, would you be curious?
And would you understand our folly when you’re struggling to cope?

I want to say: I’m sorry!
Though, in truth, at times I seal my lips
For what our leaders do sometimes, I have to say, I hate it
We have taken your wild places and turned them into tips
I only hope that what’s been spoiled can be rejuvenated

I feel your disappointment and how you’ve been neglected
Your land poisoned, your seas polluted, your biodiversity affected
I feel your melancholy and how you’ve been degraded
Your wetlands drained, your corals bleached, your living treasures raided

I want to say: I’m sorry!
For being so careless with your gift of life
For being so selfish with my unquenchable need
For being so childish with my endless strife
For being so callous with my insatiable greed

Part 4. I Love You

If you were our deity, I wonder, would you be angry or forgiving?
Would you give us another chance; another chance at living?
Would you want us to carry on, or rather wipe the slate all clear?
And would you be willing to help us, teach us; would you hold us dear?

I want to say: I love you!
Though, in truth, at times I harden my heart
For what we humans do sometimes makes us undeserving
We’ve cut so many sacred strands and torn your web apart
I only hope we’ll realise your life is worth preserving

I love your wholeness, and how you manage to survive
Your vitality, your diversity, your myriad ways to thrive
I love your openness, and how you reach up for the skies
Your buds in spring, your blooming flowers, your elusive butterflies

I want to say: I love you!
Your kaleidoscope of colours, your infinity of shapes
Your secrets of the helix code and evolution’s tree
Your everchanging seasons, the patterns weather makes
Your puzzle of creation, and maze paths to be free


I had these things to say, so I’ve written you this letter
Though now I realise, I wrote it more for me than you
I wrote to say how much I care, and that I’ll do much better
And if I’m not mistaken, I think that maybe you care too

Lots of love
Your Great Admirer

Wayne Visser © 2023


Wishing Leaves: Favourite Nature Poems

This creative collection, now in its 3rd edition, brings together nature poems by Wayne Visser, celebrating the diversity, beauty and ever-changing moods of our planet. The anthology includes many old favourites like “I Think I Was a Tree Once” and “A Bug’s Life”, as well as brand new poems like “Monet’s Dream” and “The Environmentalist”. Then as we turned our faces to the moon / Our hands entwined, our hearts in sync, in tune / We felt the fingers of the silken breeze / And made our wishes on the falling leaves / A gust of wind set off a whispered sigh / Among the trees that leaned against the sky.  Buy the paper book / Buy the e-book.


Open Letter to Young People on Donald Trump’s Election as President

Open Letter to Young People on Donald Trump’s Election as President

Read by the author, Dr Wayne Visser, on 12 November 2016


To the Next Generation of Leaders:

As Donald Trump prepares to take up office as US President, I (like so many others) am trying to make sense of it all. And whether you care about politics or not, this is a seismic event, which is shaking the foundations of the world and will affect you in one way or another.

I don’t know how you feel about it – amused, indifferent, shocked, disappointed, or outraged. But whatever your emotions, we all must now accept the disturbing fact that 60 million educated people have voted for a chauvinist, bigoted, racist, old white man to be the so-called ‘leader of the free world’.

Of course, the choice was not unambiguous – Hillary was far from a perfect alternative. I have heard commentators say that this was a vote by the ‘common people’ for change, fuelled by a deep mistrust of the corrupt political and business elites of Washington and Wall Street, which is not entirely unjustified.

Be that as it may, while the media and the public are still in an apoplectic frenzy of recrimination (or celebration, depending on their political perspective), I want to rise above the storm and reflect on what this might mean for you and your future, beyond the next four years.

My first plea to you is: Do Not Panic! Martin Luther King said: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice”. And as someone who lived through South Africa’s triumph of democracy over a 40-year brutal, racist apartheid regime, I have seen the truth of these words.

Trump, for all his bluster, cannot turn the tide of history, nor change the momentum of decades of progress on human rights, peace and the environment. He can try to renege on the global climate deal or any number of other responsibilities, but the world (and you) will move forward, with or without him.

The future belongs to the youth and I am optimistic, because you have grown up empowered by global connectivity and with access to the best that science and knowledge has to offer. I am convinced that you will not allow your opinions to be dictated by narrow-mindedness and shallow sloganeering.

At the same time, I am encouraged that the nature of leadership has changed in the past few decades. The way you live your life – and the values you choose to express – is no longer determined by politicians. Today, the people creating a better world are young social entrepreneurs, activists and change-makers.

I am not saying that we can or should ignore calamitous leadership when we see it. On the contrary, as right wing forces grow – in reaction to increased uncertainty and fear in the world – we must be extra vigilant and stronger advocates for social justice and sustainability than ever before.

No doubt about it, the work of defending liberal values just got harder in the wake of Trump’s election. But as Lebanese poet and mystic Kahlil Gibran said: “Every dragon gives birth to a St George who slays it”. And we are the knights who will take up the challenge to fight for the better future you deserve.

My simple message to you is this: Do Not Be Disheartened. Sometimes it takes a crisis to remind us of what is really important in life. And in the darkest hours, that is precisely when the human spirit shines brightest. So do not be distracted by the ensuing circus in the White House. Stay focused on the big picture and the long view.

Build your future on strong ethical foundations – those values that many before you have fought and died for, and which you now cherish. Then, rest assured, you will triumph, no matter what political earthquakes, social upheavals, environmental catastrophes or moral storms may come your way.

You are not alone.