The essay is a critical appreciation of Niyi Osundare’s concern for his environment as
contained in the eighteen poems in the poetry collection; the Eye of the Earth. The paper
argues that Niyi Osundare does more than celebrate nature in his poetry, unlike what the
romantics of the late 18th century did. The paper starts by making a quick review of the
subject matter of romantic poetry by highlighting the central ideas in some of the poems of
leading romantic poets and compares those ideas with Niyi Osundare’s concern in the Eye of
the Earth. The paper reveals that Osundare is more like a pragmatic environmentalist who
draws attention to the consequences of human activities on the earth. The poet acknowledges
that the earth is there to serve the needs of mankind but he raises an alarm on the manner in
which humans have been managing the earth-rather than plough, humans are plundering the
earth. The negative consequences of such plundering are obvious-acid rain on roofs, dead
fishes in our waters. The poet has shown that man is a bad tenant on the earth. However,
Osundare raises a vital question which borders on the paradoxical nature of human actionshow do you dig the gold without breaking the rock? In other words, how can humans harvest
the resources in nature without destroying it? The paper seeks the answer to this question by
making reference to the poetry of Wole Soyinka. In the myth of Ogun and in Idanre, and
other poems, Soyinka highlights the paradoxical truth of destructiveness and creativeness in
acting man. This paradox which is present in the character of Ogun is inherent in the
behaviour of humans, the dual capacity of destroy in attempt to create. Overcoming this
paradox is a challenge to humans. The solution Soyinka proffers in Idanre.. is that we do not
burn the woods to trap a Squirrel. In other words, we need not to destroy our environment in
the course of satisfying our little needs – our need being infinitesimal when compared to the
environment as a whole. By implication, the two poets suggest that we must be discreet in
how we harvest nature. Whatever we harvest from nature, we must make provision for its
recovery and regeneration in a commensurate manner. The essay concludes that Niyi
Osundare is more than just a nature poet as he 18th century romantics were. Osundare is a
crusader for the continued health of our environment which is a major issue in the
Millennium Development Goals.

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