If I had a wand
by Neil Creighton

If I had a wand to wave over this world
for what then would I wish?

The first: for warring humanity to beat
swords into plowshares and turn hearts to peace.

The second: for government to free its shackled mind,
rule in justice for the poor,
and seek equity and equality of opportunity.

The third: for the relentless plundering of the earth to cease,
for every acid stream and every gaping ruined landscape to heal,
for water to be clean, the glaciers full,
and forests free in their glorious diversity.

The fourth: that all creatures could have their place
on this life-filled planet,
that soft-eyed orangutans
could hang without harassment in their forest homes,
that no rhino or elephant
would ever again lie bloated and fly blown,
killed for horn or tusk,
and the sleeping tiger could rumbling purr
in peace in the flecked sunlight.

Yes, like prophets, dreamers, visionaries, poets,
if I could I would wave that wand

but I must settle for what I can do, so
if I can remake this heart,
step by step, day by day,
in gentleness and kindness,
in tender, merciful love for all things,
if I can be slow to anger and quick to forgive,
if I can live in harmony and peace,
if I can tread lightly on this earth,
this must be sufficient for me,

though I will still lift my eyes heavenwards,
hoping, dreaming, desiring,
so very much more,
thinking not just “if I” but
“If we.”

IMAGE: “Fairytales” by Gillian Singleton. Prints available at

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: From where did the poem come? The prompt alone was sufficient and brought up so many ideas for a crazy idealist like me. I have dreamt of the things of which I write for so many years.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton lives in a small village northwest of Sydney, Australia. His work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work often reflects strong interest in social justice. He has had poems published in The Second Genesis: An Anthology of Contemporary World Poetry, Prosopisia, and other online journals. He is a contributing editor at Verse Virtual, and blogs at Wind of Flowers. Poems by Neil Creighton.