I’ve read The Promise to almost every group of school children who I’ve met on school visits for the past 10 years. The words are imprinted on my heart.

But it’s only in the last weeks, while the country has been under the scourge of COVID and the way the crisis has been handled by the UK government that Ive thought a little more about why the people in the city were ‘mean and hard and ugly.’

Who made them that way ? As I thought about that, I thought about someone looking down on the people as they ‘scowled and scuttled like cockroaches’ , looking down from one of Laura Carlin’s high buildings. So I wrote this, from the perspective of the powerful, the wealthy, the selfish and how they might perceive their ultimate downfall.

You can see actor Jerome Flynn reading it here  

And watch out for the film of the Promise coming soon, with a campaign to connect children in urban areas to nature and planet advocacy!.

Jerome Flynn reading The Promise Reversed in his garden


I looked down on a city, that was mean and hard and ugly.

Nothing grew. Everything was broken. No one ever smiled.

The people were as mean and hard and ugly as their city 

because of what I stole from them…

I stole their dreams…

I stole their hopes…

I stole their time…

I stole their children…

and lived in luxury founded on their suffering.

They were far away, down there, no more to me than cockroaches.

Nothing stood in my way

I took what I pleased.

But when I cut down their last treasure, and took it to be burned…

its acorns fell and rolled away…

into cracks and crannies…

into puddles, drains and gutters…

down flights of steps…  up elevators…

They found their way 

They put down roots

They spread their first green leaves.

The people smiled in wonder

and they looked up. 

They saw the tower that had been my home

and they took it down.

They planted trees and flowers

fruits and vegetables, where it once stood.

But by then I was already far away

ready to make other cities sad and sorry

But where there is green, mean and hard and ugly will not grow…

Hopes and dreams have deep roots

Time and children matter more than gold

and people keep their promises to the earth and to each other.

In such a place I cannot thrive.

I have grow thin

I am forgotten 

I will be blown away like dust upon the wind.

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