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  • Christopher Jelley

Poetry (R)amble


Yesterday a Poetry Ramble was convened in Burridge Woods near Dulverton, the workshop journeyed into the forest to create and write inside the landscape. This was the second of two Poetry Rambles commissioned by the Lynmouth Pavilion Project and Exmoor National Park and tasked with taking words into the Exmoor woodlands.

The walk itself was more of an amble than a ramble with the actual trail being only a mile or two and much of which was sitting in the dappled shade of the camp above Dulverton in Burridge woods. Here secreted away is a precious makeshift wigwam shelter, constructed by generations of hands, large and small all leaning logs against a simple forked tree. Initially just a few timbers were set, but over the years more have been added and now it has become Dulverton's alternative venue (well almost!)

Dulvertons walking book club sometimes passes this way and you may find them chatting about the latest month's read beneath the oaken canopy before journeying off to get lost in their words once more.

But poetic words were the measure of this day, with the initial gathering and hoarding on cards provided to create a resource which would be valuable later on in the session.

Once at the den these words were remodelled and re sculpted to try and construct something which echoed this space and place. Fresh tea and biscuits did play their part in grading this wheel too.

The final task was to stitch serendipitous phrases (provided and drawn from a metal pot) into compositions intended for those who could no longer walk in these woods - be they too old or too infirm. One of the poems which came forth seemed to be written to the author's future self as a squirreling of beauty to be revisited a long time in the future.

Breath the White Barle flow

Governs and guides and lifts us long

Its moorish hue all seeded strong

Up across the brash and litter

Downy moss against hazel sheen

Fox gloves stretch our seasons sync

Woodpecker presses this broken link

Chestnut finds reach skyward

Snow weight twisted this fibrous bower

Now lazy turns to elfin tower

So that's a piece from the day, not exactly a poem, more a gathering of phrases all brought from the day, the time and the place. Foxgloves flowering in late September seemed far from their usual season, and sounds of a woodpecker which followed us up the climb seemed strangely disconnected and out of sync.

A fascinating and rewarding day, where the Exmoor woodlands provided a majestic and diverse canvas from which it was easy to draw inspiration. As yet there are no plans for future Poetry Rambles (or Poetry Ambles) but hopefully the Exmoor National Park with Lynmouth Pavilion will be keen to revisit this and build on this year's successes.

Please get in touch if you would like to attend one in Spring 2016.

Lynmouth Pavilion Project 01598 752509

And find out more about Dulverton's Walking Book Club here.

#PoetryRamble #ChristopherJelley #Exmoor #NationalPark

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