Monday, 2 October 2017

Write on the Farm, Burns Beck Moss Nature Reserve, 16th September 2017

Burns Beck 16.9.2017 photo by Geraldine Green (copyright)

The first workshop of autumn and, after a morning spent giving feedback to poems brought in by the group, plus a couple of writing prompts, we spent part of the afternoon at the peaceful, and geologically diverse nature reserve at Burns Beck Moss. It's run by Cumbria Wildlife Trust and contains a variety of flora and fauna:

Plant names read like a found poem! Bog myrtle, bog rosemary, cranberries, devil's bit scabious, water mint, meadowsweet, reeds, sphagnum moss, thistles, bog asphodel...

Bees fed on the purple blue devil's bit scabious... and I got carried away taking photos of them:

One of the poems we read, discussed and wrote in response to was 'It Should Be Visible' by Denise Levertov.

It Should Be Visible
If from Space not only sapphire continents,

swirling oceans, were visible, but the wars - 

like bonfires, wildfires, forest conflagrations,

flame and smoky smoulder - the Earth would seem 

a bitter pomander ball bristling with poison cloves.

And each war fuelled with weapons: it should be visible

that great sums of money have been exchanged,

great profits made, workers gainfully employed

to construct destruction, national economies distorted

so that these fires, these wars, may burn

and consume the joy of this one planet

which, seen from outside its transparent tender shell,

is so serene, so fortunate, with its water, air

and myriad forms of "life that wants to live."

It should be visible that this bluegreen globe

suffers a canker which is devouring it.

Denise Levertov, p.194 ‘Earth Shattering’ Bloodaxe Books

Writing prompt: starting with the phrase ‘It should be visible” what ten things would you write that you would like to be visible from space? If you use any lines/images from Denise Levertov's poem, please acknowledge poet and poem, thank you.  --  Geraldine Green 1.9.2017

The group produced some strong poetry from this prompt - I'd very much like to read them again once they're typed up. The poem prompted work relating to politics, the environment, empathy, greed,  hunger, power, love.

In a soft wind blowing from the south, in autumn sunshine, closely observing wildlife in its own environment, Burns Beck Moss was the perfect place to wander, reflect, stop, listen and simply to be 'be'.

After time spent at Burns Beck Moss, it was back to the farmhouse for quiet writing time, read back and feedback.

The next 2017 "Write on the Farm" workshops are October 21st and November 25th 2017. I'm delighted that Kerry Darbishire is leading the morning session! Big thanks Kerry!

We'll be "jazzin' it up!" on November 25th looking at jazz, Beat poetry and writing our own - oh, and there might be music ... watch this space!

We were fortunate to spend time in the dwelling place of other animals, birds, insects, plants and water, the breath that connects everything.

Here's something that resonates deeply with me by Linda Hogan, in the preface of her book 'Dwellings':

Dwellings  essays on nature and the living, spiritual world.  by Linda Hogan
from the preface

"People, animals, land -- the alive and conscious world -- populate Dwellings in this exploration of the human place within the world. I write out of respect for the natural world, recognizing that humankind is not separate from nature. Some of this work connects the small world of humans with the larger universe, containing us in the same way that native ceremonies do, showing us both our place and a way of seeing.

These are lessons learned from the land and it is my hope that this work contributes to an expanded vision of the world. Dwellings is both of and about this alive and conscious world. Its pages come from forests, its words spring from the giving earth." 

Geraldine Green 17.9.2017

Photos copyright Geraldine Green 16.9.2017

With thanks to the poets who made yesterday so special


  1. Sounds like an idyllic day - wish I could have been there.
    E xxx

    1. it truly was... Burns Beck Moss is such a treat of a place, especially with lovely poet friends ggxx