In all our sanctuaries we sit at risk

David Attenborough, Barak Obama, a starling and a blackbird


David Attenborough has given a long life to his love and defence of the natural world, whose destruction has continued despite him, at our hands. The other day he had a chat with an American president of stature and they agreed on quite a few things. At first a starling took part in their conversation. Then there came a blackbird. See below.


Birdsong Today

“Sir : I’m 14 and have just started my GCSEs…I want the chance to be something, to make a difference….[but] whilst we grow up our planet is being destroyed…On Monday you reported James Lovelock’s announcement that it was already too late. ‘We are past the point of no return’ he said…”

Isabelle Ellis-Cockcroft, Letters, The Independent, Thursday 19th January 2006.


Birdsong today
from the roof ridge opposite
around eleven
lasting about three minutes.
I think it was a starling.

Then again towards dusk
(a time of clamour when I was young)
I heard a still small voice
in the great plane tree
down the road

and saw it –
a tiny
misty shape
high in the branches
scolding me with its song.

It lasted a minute or two
before darkness fell.

Rogan Wolf
January 2006


The Last Blackbird

That blackbird pouring its heart out
through the last hour of the day
may be the last in Creation.

It sings quite well, considering
the force of the world’s grief, guilt, terror,
the forest of microphones sprouting round its feet

the incessant flashes and shrieks.
As the evening news re-plays
the blackbird’s voice, the voice

of the newscaster breaks.

  Rogan Wolf 
June 2009