Poet in action

The last of the workshops is now complete and the final snatch of days for the project which launched this spring with just under 150 poems. These were themselves written by walkers in the poetry boxes which I placed along the trail August September 2018. Today we are past the 300 mark which is incredible thanks in part to last Sundays poets firing out some 20 new compositions around the Instow area.

This was our first medley of words from the day and they certainly paint the picture of Instow harbour for me. Usually there are subsequent composite poems too, but the group was keen to build their own works and words and who am I to slow them down!

The workshops generally begin with a simple task of writing what we can see in a 360˚ loop around us. As people are beginning to make marks on their word harvesting cards I like to say ‘focus on detail’. I find, the richer the observations the better, as a little further along the track I asked each poet to throw me a line to write up a composite poem. Not only does this break the hurdle of sharing (they were a great group anyway) but it also shows how easy it is to pin a poem to the trail.

Hand in Hand
Muddy waters lift the blues
Needle stack yacht masts
Whistlin’ sea breeze
Weather vane turning
Faded cormorant illustration
Splattered sea weed bladders
Mud veins reach through sand
Couples stroll out hand in hand

This was a walking workshop (six of the nine public workshop were peddling ones this year) and as such we deviated from the trail, walking down onto Instow beach watching the (controversial) dog walkers (there is a poem pinned about this here!) The wind was whipping sand across the bay and brave families were zipping up hoodies and grasping beach tents whilst their kids dug away carefree.

The Boats Salute
Bideford boats tug at the tide
South they face
as the rivers retract
Ready to switch sides
when the waters draw back
Slapping their keels
and thrumming at the breeze
They jitter at the passing winds
and are hungry for the seas
and are hungry for the seas

Wide open spaces
Human traces
One eyed warrior
Half buried in sand
We’re here for today
Tomorrow gone
Blow with the wind
Atlantic beyond

Then on to the Glorious Oyster cafe tucked away in the dunes, almost out of the wind but not quite. Here we recharged with coffee, cake, and then a couple of new poems pinned before striding out to the Instow picnic spot. On arriving, a little blown out from the warm wind, we sheltered in the round hut and listened / watched a shower pass whilst writing new poems.

I wish I knew:
The name of the pink flowers
Profuse in their perfect gaudiness.
I know Ivy – she tangles
Her heart-shaped leaves
High into the roof.
Naughty Deadly Nightshade
Nudges my feet,
Snarly snares of bramble
Try to trip the unwary
And the troublesome sky
Frowns darkly down
Into my cob-walled cubbyhole.

Finally back out into the sunshine for a spot of lunch and a few more poems before heading back. All in all, a rewarding and productive day, plus a great session to end on, thankyou to all.

The Poetry Pin trails are open for writing and interaction 24/7 even though the passports and stamping stations are drawing to a close on the Tarka Trail you will still be able to add your poetry to this trail and all the others for the foreseeable future. The first trail began in 2013 which you can still write poems to and read the compositions. If you are a writer, poet, artist, creative and you’d like to put a trail together in your area then please get in touch.

Poem 1 – Hand in Hand – All workshop participants.

Poem 2 – The Boats Salute – Christopher Jelley

Poem 3 – Now – Sara Cheesman

Poem 4 – I Wish I Knew – Julie Sedgman