Report to Wordsworth, a poem by Boey Kim Cheng, is one that speaks of the path of destruction through nature that man is leaving behind him. I personally find the poem powerful and extremely convincing, in the sense that it manages to challenge the reader very objectively. ‘You should be here, Nature has need of you’ involves the reader directly, and the use of a Capital letter personifies nature in such a way it makes one feel her pain. The following lines are significantly symbolic, as the words ‘sky slowing’ can be interpreted as the world itself turning much slower than before, the life and vibrancy leaking out of it. The reference to a ‘dying clock’ may make the reader believe that nature has very limited time remaining and that death is at its doorstep. ‘Smothered by the smog’, this line refers directly to, I believe, the harmful smoke and gases that spoil our air, literally smothering us. This description has the impressive effect of creating a feeling of suffocation, accurately reflecting the idea that is trying to be communicated. References to the great ancient Greek gods of the seas, Proteus and Triton create an incredible effect, notably the one that depicts two of the most powerful beings in existence struggling and suffering at the hands of man. ‘All hopes of Proteus rising from the sea have sunk’, this direct allusion to the tons of pollution man creates is particularly strong as it sends a message along the lines: our oceans are so polluted even the sea god is forced away. Triton’s notes struggle to be free…horns are choked, his eyes are dazed’ The idea of man being able to cause such suffering to the gods themselves emphasises all the more the idea of them causing massive destruction to nature. ‘Neptune lies helpless as a beach whale, while insatiate man moves in for the kill’; the adjective ‘insatiate’ depicts man as being merciless and cruel. The following lines may be interpreted from the point of view of poets, who often sit and write of what they see around them, watching the ocean, or wide fields of green countryside. They are now failing as these things that were once so beautiful are slowly being destroyed. Cheng here presents an interesting image, notably that of a ‘wound widening in the sky’, which personally makes me think of our ozone layer getting worn away by pollution, leaving the world at mercy. There is also here a discreet allusion to the poem Composed upon Westminster Bridge, the poem by William Wordsworth (Cheng’s poem is a response to this particular piece of work). God is labouring to utter his last cry’ is, I find, the perfect ending to the poem, as it once again alludes to God himself struggling against what man has caused to the world. The poem’s tone is considerably morose, along with a rhythm that I would compare to a funeral march. The atmosphere is quite deep and the voice could be that of surrender, as the poet does not indicate any possibility of mankind being capable of turning this situation around. I feel that this poem can be morally challenging and is very successful in making us understand the gravity of the world’s condition.