This morning was the first workshop of the residency. The day was cold and clear, and we were able to observe Bradgate Park in its Winter glory. The workshop was over-subscribed, which was great to see. We weren’t sure if anybody would want to write poetry on a cold Wednesday in December, but with 15 writers sitting around table at the Visitor Centre, there was a lot to listen to. There were people with little or no experience of poetry; retired teachers; established poets; volunteers, members of writing groups… A great mix.
We walked out in the cold, and wrote descriptions. We wove phrases and images from those descriptions into personal reminiscences, and started to hear the links that were coming together, joining observation with personal experience.
We also imagined the voices of Bradgate Park: what would a tree, a wall or a rock say? The poem below includes a line each from all the participants: a collaborative poem that really brings the park to life. We hope you like it.
Bradgate Park Speaks
I am scrunching as I stride
through crisp leaves of oak.
The granite speaks: “I am stone. Before you and after you,
I will be here.
I am cold, old, strong, immobile rock: Stonehenge a stripling to me.
I’m between two gates, bound to this route,
watching the soles of shoes and boot-bottoms descend.
And beyond them, clouds.”
Cold hands have put these stones into place.
Lichens clothe the dry stone walls.
“I am a metal plaque set in a low trapezoid wall, stone-built.
I am marking a boundary between humans and the wild.”
The deer, from a distance, observe with disdain mums with pushchairs.
“I am Queen Adelaide Oak and I am propped up. I cannot stand alone:
I am comfortable propped up by you three.
My poor leaves are thinning and shifting in the breeze:
seeing my family hundreds of years old
as I fall to the ground
and aspire to grow.”
The incongruous rippling banner disturbs the beauty of the ancient Park.
“My roots are firmly planted in this ground,
I cannot move but I see all that does.
This is my home in the wind,
in the sun under the stars growing old by the seasons:
this is my sanctuary.”