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Green Words Poetry Anthology: Further Afield

Discover poems written by members of the local community inspired by nature. These poems are part of the Green Words Poetry Anthology curated by Riddler in Residence Aly Stoneman. 

Lundy Sky by Tim Toghill

Big sky, big seas
White clouds team into grey and black
Menacing portents of rough weather

Sun glints through breaks in the cloud
Warming with its touch
Razorbills, Puffins and Gillimots frolic in slate seas

Granite cliffs loom above the scene
Grey, crisp, glinting texture adds to the ominous panorama
Oily dark waters reflect layers of grey strata

North Devon’s coast is wreathed in curtains of rain
Drenched horizon obscures Hartland Point and Bideford harbour
Puffins in sea and skylarks in sky herald warmer days of spring.

Print by Aly Stoneman

The Sycamore Gap by Sarah Bartrum

She stood tall, just beyond the fence
Serene over the petty boundary,
Her bountiful limbs awash in leaves and buzzing insects
Her multitudinous seeds flung so far,
the whole road sprouted every Spring.
A mature mother sycamore, casting shade
and protection to us all

But today she is not there.
It is the first thing I notice
parking on the drive.
Beyond the gate, above the garage
that gap, the bare open sky.
What is left, a length of trunk
Like the leg of a man
after an amputation.

My son complains of too much heat
beating through his windows;
The view from the kitchen, empty and barren,
Outside there is no more shelter.
No hum from the great body of insects,
No birds to chirp their success as parents,
No seedlings, no leaves, no shade,
No sustenance, no protection,
No farewell.
She was taken,
Our mother sycamore,
And we are lost.

A note from the poet: Sometimes we don’t notice the significance of someone or something until it is gone.

Print by Joanne Roper

The Wonders of Creation by Anwen Phillips (Age 11)

The world is full of beauty and wonder
So always we must ponder
How to help the earth
That gives us life and birth.
God wants us to show it love
From the ground to the skies up above.

Our world gives us life
So we should empty it of strife.
Let us be kind.

Our earth is wonderful
From the ocean to the highest mountain,
Life flows like water from a fountain.

So thank you, Lord,
For this world.

Acrostic Poems

Three acrostic poems from creative writing session participants at Exeter Science Centre’s Climate Exhibition, and Exeter Cathedral poetry drop-in on National Poetry Day.

Grass By Nathan Maxwell Cann

Gee, I wish I looked at the nature, but I
Rarely look down
Although I am altogether amazed at the land
Supposedly another wild temple, unspoiled, unheard and
Saturated with grace and divinity.

Crow by Riley Smallman

Creative problem-solving and playful learning
Reacting to new discoveries and adapting behaviours
Only taking what we need and re-using what we can
Waste reduced, living as part of nature

Hope by David Newman

Help won’t arrive unless you make it yourself
One person can make a difference, but more can change everything
Planets exist far beyond our own, but this is our home
Earth is our planet and our garden, it needs everyone to help it thrive

Lynn Bailey

The Woods By Srijani Rupsha Mitra

Traipsing down the woods
is a different feeling altogether.
I am filled with desire and
and the bougainvillea
remind me further of purplish love
Wounding and scarring further
Like my knees.

I pluck fruits from the trees
as the shivering leaves
sway in the wind.
I am wanting your touch in the woods
all swishing and
full of the scent of jasmine
This desiring takes wings
and sings
like the song of the birds chirping,
like the sing song breeze,
like the churning within.

Kitchen Garden by Rod Stacy Marks

The only sound as I enter the village
is my footsteps crunching on the gravel track.
No dogs bark a warning.
No noise of traffic or tractors in the fields.
No tinkling of bells on goats.
No laughter, shouts or screams, no voices.
Just my footsteps crunching on the gravel track.

It’s hot. I check my watch. Time for a break.

The scent of herbs draws me through the broken wall
into the kitchen garden.
No parsley.
I sing as I see savoury sage, rosemary and thyme.

I fire up my camping-stove. Put on a pan of water.
Drop in a dozen leaves of sage,
magical member of the mint family.
Good for oral health, insect bites and stings;
brings wisdom, peace, purification,
protection from evil, heals grief,
grants wishes written on its leaves.

Where’s the gardener who tended these herbs?
Where’s the cook who picked them?
Where are the children who played here?
Where are the neighbours who swopped eggs,
vegetables, fruit, stories and kindness?
When did those helping-hands become clenched fists?

I sip my sage tea.

I look up.

I see my son writing “peace” on a sage leaf.

A note from the poet: This poem was inspired by the amazing ancient riddles and writing in the Exeter Book and other works in the Cathedral Library including guides to the medieval medicinal and culinary uses of herbs.