Where Have All The Flowers Gone

This song was inspired by an article I read in hospital whilst recovering from a gamma knife operation for an arteriovenous malformation (AVM) on my brain.
I was also influenced to write this by a ten-year-old pupil, Molly, who showed such passion for the climate that I felt compelled to add my contribution to the equation. Please add this new line

My recovery walks in the beautiful Wiltshire countryside made me sad to think that one day we could be asking Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

“Over the past two decades bee declines worldwide have drawn international attention.
Managed honey bee (Apis mellifera) colonies decreased by 25% over 20 years in Europe and 59% over 58 years in North America, and many bumble bee populations in Europe and North America have gone locally extinct, resulting in dramatic range contractions.

This mutualistic relationship is responsible for over $200 billion worth of food products and the reproductive success of more than 85% of flowering plants.

The complex nature of bee declines poses a significant conservation challenge. In order to save the ‘disappearing’ bees, we must determine which taxa are threatened, which threats are most imminent, and how to address them. When the solutions to conservation issues are relatively simple, such as in the cases of ozone-depletion and eggshell-thinning chemicals, concerted efforts can quickly rally public and political support to protect important natural resources. While there are certainly actions we can take to conserve bee populations, they will need to be both concerted and multifaceted.”

Extract taken from:
‘Where have all the flowers gone: complexity & worldwide bee declines by Dr Nicole Miller-Struttmann’



A mixture of pleasure and strife!

At times, could be sharp and perilous as a knife

Or a wonderland where festivity and bliss is rife

Where all we want is to keep on living

And basking in the aura that life is giving

We all hold onto life like the leaves on a tree

Being of mutual value as a flower and a bee

The beauty they parade is so wondrous to see

Wow! What beautiful sights life gives to all for free

While the flowers depend on every little bee

To spread the love when they all pollinate

The bees receive nectar in good faith and fate

And from it, the sweet tasty honey we love they create

But wait…

Can you not hear the bees buzz and say?


Where are the flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?

Where are the flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?

Where are the flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?


With the flowers perishing and going away

So do the bees, with every passing day

Since there remains little or no food to make them stay

We cannot blame them as they now tend to stray

When at will, we cut down patches of flowering plants off the way

To build roads and houses and the churches where we pray

And without giving it a thought for one or two hours

We disconnect the bees from their food as we grow ours

Unleashing neonicotinoids on the growing plants and flowers

While some bees could bear it, every one of the others cowers

The pesticides must have changed the sweets in their tasty pollen to sours

Or adulterated it with that dreaded poison that makes them lose their powers

How about the climate change that instigates the share of unfriendly parasites?

Threatening the bees’ continual existence and forcing them out of sights

And now, when I close my eyes and mind to sleep at nights

I can still hear the bees buzz and lament their plights

Where are your flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?

Where are your flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?

Where are your flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?

Unbloom. Unbloom.

Queen like the jewel
on a tarnished ring
or still-life—static, on her back. A marriage ends

Where have all the flowers gone?

The flower-girls come home with empty hands,
something blue, their hive broken open

like an egg, bodies frayed, wire legs
in the pale and barren sun. Was this June?

Where have all the flowers gone?

No honeysuckle, lavender, no hum. No powder. No
purples left to brush their wings against: every cell in the comb a vacant hexagon of ash, children born
into gardens with the colours leaching out

Where have all the flowers gone?

What paint will we use
when those who made it
 fall away? Flight seared 
by the chemicals we sprayed, for sake of growth, what growth in the after-Eden, after-bustle grey, how long before the curtains draw on nothing but our peat?


Where have all the flowers gone?

In your empty rooms
in this stagnant air
when you’re asking
where the flowers went, know this: when a honey-maker stings

she’s a martyr, torn in two

Where are your flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?

Where are your flowers? Where have all the flowers gone?