As humans, we often write poetry to help process and make sense of the world around us. Back in the 1800s during the Romantic era, we wrote a lot about how sublime the world was. William Wordworth’s The Prelude is basically a love letter to Earth and nature. However, as we’re in the midst of a climate crisis, the way we write about our planet is changing. 

Words are powerful, so here are five poems about climate change to change the way you think.

Ruth Padel – Water is Company

You close your eyes so you can’t see the omen. 

You try praying for rain

You wait for an augury, sing to the brook 

while the self flies out and away

like a bird from a withered branch

and the wind, with a hollow sound

like a breaking pot, whips the lake to a dance 

of bubble-froth soap-suds, blocking the drain.

Sophie E. Valdez – Mother Earth 

The land is in a constant state of birth,

Giving life to all who live on Earth.

Our carelessness and fears

Have taken a toll over the years.

Her land is parched and scorched

As man continues to light the torch.

We continue a want of speed and ease,

All while our pesticides kill off our bees.

It’s time to wake up and see Mother Earth’s pain.

Humanity’s selfishness is becoming insane.

Soon her cries will turn to gloom,

And man will cause its own doom.


John Agard – Inheritance

If we, the children of the meek, 

should inherit an earth 

whose rainforest lungs 

breathe a tale of waste – 

an earth where the ailing sea 

shudders in its own slick 

If we, the children of the meek, 

should inherit an earth 

where the grass goes nostalgic

at the mere mention of green

and the sky looks out of its depth 

when reminded of blue 

If we, the children of the meek,

should inherit such an earth,

then we ask of the future 

one question: Should we dance

or break into gnashing of teeth

at the news of our inheritance?


Rachael Boast – Silent Sea

Another vessel sheds the chrome
of its silver mile until a mile
meanders into three, triples again

over the reef. Nothing can breathe
under oil, nor register that
dark membrane’s slick

over sight. We were the first
cracking the hull of the earth
open, our foolish husbandry

a metallurgy that’s brimmed
with false gold too often
we can talk, and talk, and talk

but a ship in space, manned
by non-thinking from non-feeling,
says absolutely nothing at all.

David Sergeant – A Language of Change

We’re sat by the ocean and this

could be a love poem; but that lullaby murderer

refuses each name I give it

and the icebergs seep into our sandwiches,

translated by carbon magic. And even this might be

to say too much. But the muse of poetry

has told me to be more clear – and don’t,

s/he said, for the love of God, please, screw things up.

Ambiguous, I didn’t reply; as we’re sat

by the ocean and I could make it

anything you wanted, for this moment

of speaking – but we have made it

something forever. Together

the weather

is a language we can barely understand;

but confessional experts detect

in the senseless diktat of hurricane

a hymning of our sins, our stupid counterpoint.

Love has served its purpose, now must be

transformed by an impersonal sequester

of me into the loves I will not see,

or touch, or in any way remember.

Perhaps it was always like this – take my hand,

horizon – ceding this land.

If you liked this post then read Can Cli-Fi save the world? or Five environmental thrillers you should read next. 

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Maddy Burgess

Maddy Burgess

Maddy is a journalism student who enjoys writing about culture, entertainment and the arts. If she’s not reading a book, you’ll find her listening to Taylor Swift. She’s passionate about books that reflect what’s going on in society and lead us to ask important questions about the world around us.

Favourite genres: Contemporary Fiction and Romance.