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Children

 
 

The Great Outdoors

by Amelie Cassidy

 

Look around and hear the sounds,

It’s like the great outdoors is calling.

Calling to say listen to me, listen to what I have to say.

After that, this is what you hear.

A tiny wood mouse scuttling in the grass,

Searching for nuts, searching for berries.

Hear the birds tweeting in the sapphire blue sky,

Flying high, so very high.

Hear the butterflies, ladybirds, dragonflies, bees and bugs,

Fluttering their colourful wings in the blades of emerald green grass.

Then you hear a fire cracking fox digging its muddy den,

Her babies squealing and squeaking.

Next you hear a badger sniffling in the grass,

Sniffing for worms in the ground,

You know what he would say “lucky me, he he he”.

Then you hear leaves whispering amongst one another.

The waving trees are dancing on the spot,

They cannot move, their knobbly roots are tied in the sandy ground

But if they could, they would travel the world, they surely would. 

Now you have heard the sound of nature,

You should tell this poem to someone else.

Tell them the message the great outdoors wants to tell you,

Tell them the knowledge that you have just taken away.

 
 

A Dog’s Greatest Wish

by Laura Jobke

 

The Great Outdoors is what I seek,

With rivers here and there,

Rippling and splashing,

In the frosty air.

 

Perhaps a forest is my desire,

With oaks standing proud,

And in fall, leaves like fire,

On the muddy ground.

 

Maybe a lake is my biggest wish,

Home to pearly swans,

And a swarm of golden fish,

Darting around the shimmering pool.

 

But most of all,

I’m longing for a home,

So, give me one,

For I’m all alone.

 
 

I and the great outdoors

by Madeleine Soong

 

I and the great outdoors makes me feel free!

But I have lots of company like the bumblebee,

The wasp, worm, fly and also the trees,

That makes me feel happy as it is company,

So I enjoy the outdoors,

And all my friends with me.

 

 

The Great Outdoors

by Harry Sweeting


Locks and cracks open the back.
Bright sunlight glowing
Grass stands up straight
Trees flowing in the air.
Rainbow flowers lead
across the meadow
into a shadow
As cotton clouds bloom
Fluorescent dragonflies glide
in the breeze
as they zoom to the water.
Pleased to share the rivers slide.

 
 

Limericks

 
 

Lockdown Limerick – The Landlord from Penshurst – Peppy Scott

 

A landlord from Penshurst in Kent

Explained how his lockdown was spent

Improving each room

To look lovely on Zoom

While he dreamed of increasing the rent

 

 

Forest Limerick – Charlie Bell

 

A self-isolating poet and florist

looked out for some rhymes in the forest.

What she found was a shock,

There were few rhymes in stock,

so her poems were rather malnourished.

 
 

Lockdown Limerick – Mark Hammer   

 

    “What did YOU do in Lockdown?” – a test


     To respond to a grandchild’s request.
      I had to admit
      I’d done little but sit,
      But that now I should like a real rest.

 

 

Lockdown Limerick – David Smith

 

While locked in the house with his wife

Bill found disagreements were rife

When lockdown was lifted

His garden was sifted

But all that they found was the knife...

 
 

Adults

 
 

Sky high

by Charlie Bell

 

High above me in the field,

a skylark, vocalising ─ unseen but very present,

etching vibrant colours in the silence.

Its notes reach down

until we’re tethered by a silken cord,

heart to heart.

The song is everything.

Nothing else matters.

I fly to the highest note,

hovering stationary in the light breeze

as the voice trills and effervesces.

 

I gaze down on the growing corn,

deep emerald in the spring morning sun,

and watch my toiling self,

striding, as if I own the place.

The notes continue,

and I am that trilling sound,

suspended in liquid air.

And there I crave the chance to stay,

in perpetual pureness,

transformed;

but I have other things to do.

 

 

 

Ghyllibank

by Christine Rose

 

Now the track is narrow,

would not take a wide cart

rolling in and out of the ruts.

To the left the narrow ravine,

soft filled with soil over the slice

carved by tectonic shift, hosts

a trickle where deer drink.

 

Branches arch above me,

grey trunks gangle

to the leaf canopy, once

wood for fuel,  charcoal.

Woodbanks dug by Normans

wanting to keep deer

inside their own boundaries.

 

No coppicing now, windblown

boughs are mossed dragons,

toads,  bright green forms,  down

to earth in  sunlight or rain.

Deer still here, sheltering.

Mottled does lead fawns

through dappled patches.

 

The black furnace pond is calm.

 Air is soft on my face, all is memory.

 

 

 
 
 
 

Daffodils for dementia

by Jill Munro

 

A former sheep farmer is growing and harvesting daffodils in the Welsh Black Mountains to help Alzheimer's patients. The daffodils contain a high amount of galantamine, a compound known to slow the progression of Alzheimer's symptoms.   Farming UK, April 2019

 

He’s as Welsh as Black Mountains, red dragons,

the white of a leek, but he’s turfed sheep

 

from his fields to reap a different harvest,

with hillside land filled with so much more

 

than hosts of golden flowers − not just to see

them dancing in a breeze but to fight disease

 

that mind-steals, eats memories. More

than ten thousand stand in rows, bulbs buried,

 

trumpeting leaves stuffed with Galantamine.

His gentle aid may mean she can again recall

 

those small October days knelt digging holes

with me, burying hope and jonquils.

 

 

 

The Buzzard’s Call

by Sara Davis

 

Clouds surround the whitened sun,

shadows enclose the cooling days,

each one a little tighter,

while my idle thoughts drift indoors

to lighting lamps, evening chores.

 

Then,

a buzzard’s call

un-tames the low suburban sky,

grasps my thoughts

to soar

above the chess board town,

over fields of stubble wheat,

woodland clumps, russet heaths,

to heather moors and ochre cliffs

reaching out to the lambent sea.

 

The bird rises,

becomes a fleck against the sun,

circles once, then it’s gone,

leaving me a vast horizon,

a sunlit path across an ocean,

wings to spread, wings to fly.

 

 

The Great Outdoors in a Time of Pandemic  

by Alison Bailey

 

My home was once a rabbit burrow in a wood,

A hidden nook of art and words; a global 

Springboard from which to plan a pilgrimage

To distant lands, ride a rocket to the rim of space 

Fall back to Latin lands encircled by the Alps.

 

But, suddenly, my home died.

 

My refuge was fenced off, locked shut,

Relocated to a riskier realm. ‘No man’s land’

Now separated me from those cared for. An inmate,  

I was paroled to buy provisions - rarely.

Masked, I hid my fading, enforced smile

From those who bravely bore the darkest hour: 

The mournful march of viral power. 

 

But Ariel, faster than the turning speed of Earth

Escaped my captive cell, my shrivelled state, 

Sought comfort in some old and lingering stems,

Reviving last year’s plants, with thrifty thought.

 

The hold and lure of City lights soon failed:

It sought new focus in the rays of Sun, 

In unploughed poppies; in skies of crystal blue

In Cathedral canopies of overarching trees, 

 

It sought the choral society of birds; discovered 

Chairs in logs; safety in the balmy breeze.

It renewed my prison walls with summer’s form,

Of fragrant fertile gardens; it patiently revived  

The homely tapestry of my rewired life

With vaster visions of the great outdoors. 

 
 

Morning Swim in the North Sea

by Peppy Scott

 

We picked a path across the pebbles,

Past the last high water mark,

Popping pods of bladder wrack

Beneath our shingle-toughened feet

Before, drawn East toward the shore

And morning’s ritual immersion,

We bore the breathless shock of waves

That broke to wash our numbing skin,

Baptised us with a salted sting,

Called us, committed, deeper in.

 

 

Maiden Hill*

by David Roe

 

We climbed the hill

Through the lengthening shadows

Of approaching dusk,

The earthen ramparts of this ancient fortress

Thrown into stark relief

By the light of the fading sun;

Contours on an old and weather-worn map.

 

A band of innocent marauders, we climbed,

The children leading the assault,

Their joyous screams like battle cries

As we, the generals at the rear,

Shouted our commands

Against an unremitting wind

That flattened the wiry grass,

And seemed to draw us back

Through layers of forgotten time.

 

And, as our first small wave

Subdued the final ridge,

Scattering like the rabbits before them

Across the empty, isolated land above,

We below each took our separate paths

To wander with our silent thoughts

Amongst the folded earth.

 

I traced the flight of a solitary bird,

A silhouette hanging in the rolling sky,

That beat its wings

And dropped like death upon its prey,

And found myself alone,

Lost amongst the phantoms of a desperate past.

 

Ghosts, abandoned by Vespasian’s legions

And the Celtic horde,

To roam these barren heights,

Their wounded bodies

Buried here with broken artefacts,

Locked in the silted vault of time.

And we, the holders of the key,

Left to burnish each small fragment

With our bleak imaginations,

To search for clues

Of how these people lived

In their mysterious and violent age.

 

The first few careless drops

Of an approaching storm

Began to fall,

To blur the fragile images,

Like rain upon a simple watercolour sketch.

And our small band re-grouped,

Retraced its path

From this unique and timeless place

Down to the fertile plains below.

And, as we wearily descended,

Left behind our own few passing footprints,

Overlaid upon the traces

Of an endless roll of generations,

As they had etched the outline

On our tutored minds

Of their own brief and mortal piece

Of ever-flowing time.

 

*Maiden Castle Iron Age hill fort in  Winterborne Monkton, Dorchester, Dorset