A journal of art + literature engaging with nature, culture, the environment & ecology

Two poems by Ellen Chia

Ellen Chia, Singapore-Thailand

The Phenomenon


How I can't resist feeling

we're but rude trespassers

in your presence;

we with our affected appreciation

of your primordial stoic beauty,

imprinting our contrived smiles

and absurd poses on photographs,

shamelessly exploiting you as our backdrop.

Not so much for keepsakes

but more so that the photos

might shine triumphantly through the

copious newsfeed on social media,

placing emphasis on our experiences with

#NatureLover #Slowlife #Breathe #LifeIsSimple



A celebration of our vanity at your expense.


Fortunately, though not so fortunate for you,

the tilapias and carps in the lake can dart

and hide from unsavoury, impertinent ways.

But you, cast in stone, have no means

to avert your gaze or express your displeasure.

As it is, it's hard being a mountain these days,

Especially one as spectacular as you.




Swarms of miniature flying machines

decked in scintillating orange and crimson reds.

Whirring, hovering, catching sunbeams

on gossamer wings and winged breakfast en route.


On higher ground, the green bee-eater perches

and lands itself in plump luck,

eager than ever to dart a strike,

to break its fast with the gossamer gulp.


Big wings eat small wings eat smaller wings,

the order of the day they say.


It doesn't matter if your species had an evolutionary

head start once upon a few hundred million years ago,

or that your Palaeozoic ancestors once possessed

supersized wingspans that would throw the bee-eaters into a frenzy.


Nature's wheel of fortune keeps its constant spin,  

writing and rewriting, age after age, the order of the day.

Ellen Chia exchanged her corporate heels for paintbrushes in 2007 and has since embarked on a journey from Singapore to Thailand as a self-taught artist. When she is not painting, Chia enjoys going on solitary walks in the woodlands and along beaches where nature's treasure trove impels her to document her findings and impressions using the language of poetry. 

Two Poems by Michal Mahgerefteh