Heidi StephensonIF
Animal Rights Poetry By Heidi Stephenson From All-Creatures.org

Poems of compassion dedicated to the non-human animals who share this planet with us and the people who fight for them.

IF (Or, Back to the Garden)
By Heidi Stephenson

If all chains
Were daisy-chains,
And all borders
Flower borders,
If all thorns in sides
Were only there
To protect.

If all violence turned violets,
And every Red Poppy
Became a White Poppy,
A Purple Poppy.1

If every Sheep’s Bit,
Lamb’s Ear,
Oxtongue,
Oxlip,
Force-fed Fat Hen,
Common Cleaver,
Wormwood;
Every Shepherd’s Purse
Were no more.

If every Johnny Jump-Up,
Every Texas Bluebonnet,
Every Kentucky Bluegrass,
Every Black-Eyed Susan,
Every Snapdragon,
Every None-So-Pretty,
Catchfly,
Bitter-Vetch,
Bouncing Bet;
Dame’s Rocket,
Lady’s Mantle,
Gold-Of-Pleasure;

All the Lord’s And Ladies,
Love-Lies-Bleeding,
Mind-Your-Own-Business,
Fox-and-Cubs,
Hound’s Tongue,
Whistling Jack,
Dragon’s Teeth,
Lance-Leaf,
Hawk Bit,
Leopard’s Bane;

Every Mexican Hat,
Spanish Dagger,
Cowslip,
Cowbane,
Tormentil;

Every Goat’s Rue,
Hen Bane,
Flea Bane,
Wild Madder;

Every Ramping Fumitory,
Every Scarlet Sage,
Crimson Clover,
Bastard Toadflax;

Every Adder’s Tongue,
Woundwort,
Rupturewort,
Creeping Marshwort,
Pokeweed –

Became a Sweet William,
A Sweet Cicely,
A Golden Alison,
A Baby’s Breath,
An Oxeye Daisy,
A Sweet Alyssum;
Smelling only
Of Roses...

If Thymes changed;
If every Siberian Wallflower,
Every Go-To-Bed-At-Noon,
Every Knap Weed,
Aunt-Eliza,
Creeping Jenny -
Spoke out,
Remembering:
“Forget-Me-Not,”
The Bleeding Heart.
If there were Honesty again,
And Love-In-A-Mist…

Then the Foxglove
Would warm paws once more;

Every Bird’s Foot,
Crowfoot,
Little Robin,2
Would be a Bird-In-A-Bush -
Not a trap.3

Every Colt’s Foot,
Every Unknown Goosefoot,
Every Mare’s Tail,
Mouse Tail,
Would be free again.

Hare’s Ear,
And Mouse Ear,
Would hear Trumpet Flower;

Pheasant’s Eye,
And Weasel’s Snout,
Would behold Yellow Archangel;

Angel’s Tears would heal.
Crane’s Bill and Stork’s Bill
Would be happily picked up;

And we would see the return
Of Morning Glory -
Usher in the long-desired,
Anciently predicted
Age of Lilies.4

All would Speedwell,
Eyebright,
Pearly Everlasting,
Star Of Bethlehem,
Meadowsweet.

There would be food-a-plenty:
Cow’s Parsley,
Turkey Corn,
Pigweed,
Swinecress,
Monkeyflower,
Oysterplant,
Cudweed,
Honey Suckle,
Wild Turnip.

If human beings
Became humane beings.

If humans
Started being
And just stopped doing…

If.


  1. Purple Poppy's (Animals in the War)
  2. Britain's favourite bird the robin redbreast could be added to list of birds that can be killed legally
  3.  The truth about bird trapping
  4. Joachim of Fiore - Joachim Di Fiore prophesied a final Age of the Holy Spirit, wwhen peace would return to earth once more.) It was also called the Age of Lilies.

Go on to: I have a Dream
Return to: Poetry by Heidi Stephenson
Return to: Animal Rights Poetry