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John Clare quoteThe whole point of being in the meadow, for me, is to write poetry. Of course there are loads of benefits that come with being there, and all of them, so far, positive.

My two days there last week left me in a state I can only describe as ‘meadow-mind’. I slowed down, I forgot about roads, emails, anything beyond the meadow really. High Borrowdale Valley is like a cocoon, and I was cosy. I entered a slumber-like frame of mind and wandered in the meadows, along the track and beneath the trees, down to the river. I walked in rain, in full sun, in mist and in moonlight. I let the valley seep into me. I watched chimney sweep butterflies setting their black against the green. I traced a bee’s pollen-heavy journey through a patch of white clover. I wondered what the birds were saying, and which birds they were. When it’s blazing hot, their song becomes quiet – when the evening or a cool mist draws in, they chatter incessantly.

My own poetry is forming. My notebook is filling. I will work on it next week when I will be in the meadow once again. I will also be exploring ways that the meadow flowers might contribute to the poetry. Could they write for themselves, and if they could, how?

For now, I wanted to share a poem that emerged during the open meadow day on July 1st. It was a day of sunshine, heat, storms and discoveries, and the sharing of poetry both old and new. We had a bit of a play as well, and did a ‘black out’ exercise, also known as ‘found poetry’. From the same piece of original writing, several very different poems emerged. Each one has its own poignancy. This one was uncovered by Jane Exley. 'Found Poetry' in the meadow

‘Me a do double u’    by jane exley

gather three weeks
and spread them with rain.

There a hay crop and clovers grew,
followed by betony,
a long richness of strength –

depend on each flower
depend on the complex
beauty of life,
precious.

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