Sunday, 5 July 2015

All the Wild Wonders: Poems of Our Earth

All the Wild Wonders: Poems of Our Earth edited by Wendy Cooling, illustrated by Piet Grobler (Frances Lincoln)
HC RRP $27.95
ISBN 9781847806250

Reviewed by Anastasia Gonis

The title poem of this wonderful poetry collection is a lullaby from a mother or grandmother to a new born baby. It is by Australian writer and poet, Elizabeth Honey. It sets the themes of the book which include an environmental conscience, a sense of responsibility towards all living things, the need to be ready to act on what is unacceptable in relation to the environment, and to remember that we are caretakers of the earth for future generations.

There are poems on the sun - what its role is and what ours is towards it. Poems for the forest include a salute to trees in short and long forms that include the stirring and profound, The Prayer of the Tree by Anonymous. Then there are references to the animals and birds that live in trees, and the adverse effect on the landscape of concrete buildings as they replace trees.

Snagger’s Pond is directed at children, for they too, must learn early in life to respect their environment. ‘Snagger’s Pond was dying, there was a bad pollution. So, we cleaned and restocked. We found the solution.’

The range of poetry is enormous. It reaches to caged birds, oil spills and the damage to animals and bird life. It continues with wind farms, the dwindling numbers of endangered animals and other species, the slaughter of seals and whales, and the disappearance of green from the planet.

Well known poets such as John Milton, Alfred Tennyson, Thomas Hardy, Ogden Nash, and John Agard have been included. Other poets’ work from around the world that perhaps we haven’t heard so much about, have equal status in this compilation.

There is a double page list of About the Poets. The book is produced with fine quality paper and illustrated in pencil and watercolour. Wendy Cooling is a highly regarded anthologist.

This is an impressive collection of 35 poems. I hope it gets the attention it deserves for the poems collectively call for attention to their messages. I would love to believe that all readers will be affected by the thought-provoking content and remember, ‘where we see danger, we need to think and act’ to protect our earth.

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