Flora and Fauna, by Peter Street

Peter Street, Writing for Peace AdvisePeter Street’s latest poetry collection, Listening to the Dark, explores war through the point-of-view of wildflowers.

You may not be surprised to learn the assassins of this war are Convolvulus Arvensis (field bindweed), but if you were pleased to see bright yellow blossoms splattered across the neighboring pastures, you may find the true nature of Buttercups Ranunculus acris deeply shocking.




Copperas Lane, Haigh Hall, Wigan, England, 2012

“Plant geneticists are finding that plants can communicate with each other as well as with insects by coded gas exhalations.”
~James Donahue – Living Universe


Rumex obtusifolius

Listening to the Dark, by Peter Street, dock leaves Rumex obtusifolius

Rumex obtusifolius (dock leaves)

Dock Leaves

Dozens of docks
making their way down
through fields
to a meeting place

in the front meadow. Stop
wave and cheer

buttercups and hemlocks
leading lines of wild flowers
down Copperas Lane

towards Haigh Hall
where regiments
of dandelion seeds
are parachuting in……
Taraxacum officinale

Listening to the Dark, by Peter Street, Taraxacum official (dandelion)

Taraxacum official (dandelion)

First To Speak

for all dandelions

I am a dandelion

Yes, one of those who feel
we have more to offer
than this tarmac they like
so much.

It’s why I’m here
to see about a peace deal,
their last chance – so to say

before it gets really serious.
Ok, mistakes have been
on both sides, but while

they are trying to kill us all …..

well, it’s like this:
we are a big family
with lots of friends

who are also losing patience.
This is their last chance

Urtica dioica

Open Floor

for All Stinging Nettles

Honest we have tried
our very best to keep out
of their way

we know and respect
how much they like to be in charge
At first we tried hiding
behind old farm machinery

then it was round the back
of rundown sheds
and in dark corners
but it somehow

never quite seemed enough

So we thought it might
now this is only a suggestion
might be worth getting together

call it a new beginning
with dock leaf as a go between.
What do you think?
Ranunculus acris




Playtime is over

It’s finally come down
to giving them a taste

of who we really are

their sheep and cattle
took notice when we first
burned their tongues
not forgetting their stomachs

they now leave us alone

No it’s gone way past anything
called reasonable
we need to act now before
they destroy us all

so, who will second this motion

for all of our roots
from all of our families
to creep out of sight

just below the
surface of this world
and take over?
Plantago major



Please, listen before you go
getting here has taken
millions of years –
we cannot throw that away.

This is not who we are,
we are the chosen ones
healers – not warmongers

you must say no to this motion.

Confusion is getting around
some of the grasses
are sharpening their blades

the hemlocks are being loaded
with more and more poisons
this is getting out of hand

please don’t second this motion
we are better than this

let’s give them one last chance
Wishful Thinkers
Bellis perennis


to all lawn daisies

We will stand up
and be counted. Yes,
all the daisies in all the world
are making their way here

to this spot crowding this lawn
before Wigan
here at the side of
Banks Street Chapel

where in our hundreds –
thousands maybe we will say
no to war.  If Bolton is difficult

then wherever you are
stand up and be counted
and say no to this madness!
Convolvulus arvensis 

Field Bindweed


You buttercups are all the same
we know you hate
all two hundred and fifty
of our family.

Jealous are we?

Because no one would suspect
who we are and what we do –
it’s our beauty you know

from being in the lanes
relaxed, frightened of no one –
this goads you doesn’t it

having to ask us for help

we want to hear it come on
admit – you cannot do
what we do

what we have always done:

your dirty work in choking
the slow death out of all those
you despise because they are

So who is it this time
daises, dandelions, streams
fences who or what?
Symphytum officinale

Comfrey (nip-bone)

Aye many a time
I bandaged myself
around their broken bones

after they had been clog
or bare knuckle fighting
all for  the prize of a crust

no myself and my family
are menders of hurt
we do not do war

maybe yourselves need
some bandaging
why don’t you come

and see us sometime
we are always here
and there’s no charge
Centaurea cyanus


blank spacefor Sue Bell

We gave them blue
as much as they wanted
free for ever with no contracts

then in a wisdom we didn’t understand
they tried to poison or burn us out

but going to war is not who
we are maybe it’s about
starting again another go.

Would showing them
a world without colour help?

We could get some friends round
for a fancy knees up
but with no colour and no fun

because that’s how it would be

no for us cornflowers
war is never an option
Fallopia japonica

Japanese knotweed

No colours no fancy knees up
You’ll have us all crying
we’re talking big boys
stuff now

that’s higher in the scheme
of everything  this is what we do
it’s us or them

Look they have been here
in a flicker of time
and already trying

their best to destroy themselves
and us this is survival
so let’s help them on their way

see we can be generous
and yes
we are going to war
Digitalis purpurea


Hello! Is anyone listening?

Yes, I’m a volunteer steward
on this my first conference
so can you all please calm down

and tell me how else

to get your attention
and yes, I’m sorry
if ringing my bells
nearly burst your eardrums

but how else am I going to get you
all heading down Copperas Lane
in single file
behind the hemlocks?
Epilobium angustifolium

Listening to the Dark, by Peter Street, Epilobium angustifolium (willow herb)

Epilobium angustifolium (willow herb)

Rosebay willowherb (Pioneer species)

Carry on kid bout time
wi had sum yung blood
at these things

bells don’t bother us
in fact nowt at all
bothers us willow herb

bar snotty noses
down in that Haigh Hall
meadow wonting war

wiv sin it dun it
survivd it weer not calld
fireweed fa nowt ya know

wars got us noweer
wots lackin  here
is sum common sense

down theer fa dancin
up here fa thinkin
war indeed

they wont their arses kickin’
weer off wam
is anyone cumin?
Carex arenaria 

Sand Sedge

Saying No To The Icebergs

Like all families we have fought

for all our sakes
that is now behind us
there’s an army washing towards us

waves of them
from their land of ice and water
a taster they’re calling it

in case it’s more than that
like wanting to take back

we are not responsible for this

but we have to be ready –
otherwise we will all
be washed away

none of us will survive.
This where our fight really starts
come and stand with us
Listening To The Dark, by Peter StreetPeter Street’s new collection, “Listening To The Dark”, was just released by Penniless Press Publications.  In his latest collection, Peter reflects on the arguments for/against a war with the humans and their ignorance regarding global warming. Says Peter, “This sixth collection covers my travels in Iceland, my life in and around the north west U.K., and the latest flora and fauna.”

Click here to order a copy of “Listening to the Dark” by Peter Street.

Peter Street, Writing for Peace Adviser

In Peter Street’s new ebook, “Rite of Passage”, published by Natterjack, he writes about his experiences as a grave-digger.

“Grave-digging was hazardous work in the1960s. There was very little machinery: graves were still largely dug by spade. There were no Health-and-Safety rules. Opening up a grave, after however many years, to inter a new member of the family, was anything but healthy or safe.” ~Peter Street

Click here to purchase a copy of “Rite of Passage” by Peter Street.

About Writing for Peace Adviser, Peter Street

Peter Street, Writing for Peace Advisor

Peter Street, National and International Poet, was born in Wigan in 1948. He is a qualified Arborist and has previously worked as a forester, a Mediterranean chef, and gravedigger/exhumer. Street has published five previous poetry collections. His first, Out Of The Fire (spike books) was nominated for the 1993 Forward prize. The same year, I.T.V. television broadcast a twelve minutes Remembrance Sunday Special about his time as a war poet during the Bosnian/Croatian conflict. Learn more about Peter Street here.

Writing for Peace News

Writing for Peace Young Writers' ContestThe Writing for Peace 2014 Young Writers Contest is officially open! Deadline is March 1st, 2014. Our prestigious Judges Panel includes Robin Black, fiction; Dinty W. Moore, nonfiction; and David Mason, poetry. Check out our complete guidelines here.

Our 2013 contest reached students in 21 countries, we hope to double the number of entries in 2014. (Meet our 2013 winners here!) Help us spread the word to schools across the globe. Email editor@writingforpeace.org to learn how your school can receive free bookmarks for participating students.

Call for Submissions!

DoveTales, a publication of Writing for PeaceWriting for Peace is accepting submissions for our 2014 Issue of DoveTales, an International Journal of the Arts. The theme of our second journal is contrast. Check out our submission guidelines here. Purchase a copy of our 2013 “Occupied” Issue here.

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