A Poem for March: ‘Only One Home’

March 2024

Alexander wrote this poem ‘Only One Home’ for the World Wildlife Fund Scotland to mark Earth Hour, which will take place this year on 23rd March.

‘Only One Home’

It’s always useful, we’re told,

To ensure a spare is ready to hand:

About the house an extra pair

Of spectacles may come in useful,

A front door key, or two perhaps,

Concealed for emergency use;

These things are simply prudent, signs

Of a cautious mentality, of planning ahead

For the unexpected, the contingency

We never thought would come about;

And yet there are some important things,

Of which we may possess only one:

Each of us has only one heart, one life,

One memory in which to lodge the remembrance

Of the things we know and love;

These are private and individual limitations;

Singularity applies, though, just as much

To that which belong to all:

We have only one home, one planet,

One earth on which each of us may sit down

And speak of and treat as our own:

Only one, irreplaceable, unduplicated

By a spare earth somewhere else;

Just this one, this one we love.

And that, perhaps, is what we might

Tell ourselves as we look upon it

With a lover’s eyes, this precious place,

Source of all meaning to us,

Site of all that we’ve ever known.

Ever felt, or ever dreamed about,

This spinning place, green and blue.

Shrouded at times by cloud, made golden

By sunsets that make us want to cry;

This is the only one we have;

This is the one that we must cherish,

Distinctive in the light of our individual moods

And different ways of looking at things,

Yet equally dear, equally nourishing,

Equally in need of our stewardship

Now, as never before; our only home.



Read more of Alexander’s poetry in his collection, In A Time of Distance