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BCA Summer poetry competition

We ran a poetry competition open to all members of BCA to write about our woods. We initially asked for a sonnet (well done Maurice Barker and Ian Morris for submitting one) but relaxed the requirement.

We are delighted to publish the five poems we received below.

We will be having another competition and are looking at the possibility of having a poetry corner in the visitor centre.

A specially thanks to BCA trustee Mike Wilde for organising the summer competition.

Over Eighteen's

A DOG’S TALE by Ian Morris

Come! O.K if we must, he calls again.
A weary voice, dull and flat -poor jaded boy.
Each day the same, a sad, resigned refrain.
Yet the word excites, a key, to bliss, my joy!

Oh God, is that the time, it looks like rain.
We trudge through town, both attached to tether.
Though I know a way that will ease his pain.
Still, his gloom, my delight, plod together.

The change comes fast, of course I knew it would We switch from hard tar to leafy bower Corbar! Or Grinlow. Charms that work so good.
Their trees, ferns, peace, mark the witching hour

As hope soars up into the leaves above,
A smile breaks out on the face that I love.

Buxton Woods by Maggie Hale

Corbar, Gadley, Grinlow,
These are the places
Where I walk, watch and ponder –
Put my life to rights,
As far as I am able.
I observe the changing seasons,
Feel the weather on my skin.
Watch for the first bluebells,
Breathe in their heady scent,
Anemones like stars at my feet.
Summer sun filters through the trees,
A sudden shower scatters raindrops,
And the air smells fresh.
Autumn footpaths hide under golden leaves.
And in the cold winter sun
Every tree turns to lace,
Outlined in glittering frost.
And once, just once,
Eight buzzards high above the trees,
Powerful wings outspread,
Wheeling, gliding, in a clear blue sky,
While we, trapped in a Covid lockdown
Could only watch in wonder.

The Corvid by Maggie Hale

The corvid sat on a branch so high,
Too fat and lazy to want to fly.
He looked at the people walking below,
Crowds and crowds with nowhere to go.
For Boris had ordered them all to stay home,
Robbed everyone of the right to roam.
Stop the spread is what he said,
Stay home and sanitise instead.
So they walked in the woods near their homes each day,
Not daring to venture too far away.
There was something the corvid wanted to know,
He was, after all, a little bit slow.
“But why,” he asked, as he sat in his tree,
“Have they named the pandemic after me?”

Joys and pleasures of walking in one of our woods by Maurice Barker 2021

It’s clear Gadley Woods is not quite what it seems
It’s a place to relax and let your inner peace grow
Looking around simply strengthens the theme
The silence broken only by the water flow

Stepping stones cross the meandering stream
And like troops they parade in a regiment row
When waters are lean, they stand erect and beam
And in flood, pray their heads are above the flow

In summer when the trees are all covered in green
Pencils of bright sunlight pattern the earth
In winter, the strong winds blow the trees clean
They lie on the ground which absorbs their worth

So, while Gadley Woods may be off the beaten track
Once you’ve visited, you’re sure to come back.

Under Eighteens

The Best Walk

I climb up the winding woodland path
Up to Grinlow Hill
The town and cars are far below
The day is warm and still.
We race to Jack and act like statues
Everyone must freeze.
A shady seat up at the top
Is there beneath the trees.

Patter patter up the hill
A little dog goes near
We say hello, a friendly wave
We all like walking here.
The information signs
Can tell us all about the woods
And even give us history
About our Buxton roots.

The walk is finished.
Down the steps, it’s time to say goodbye.
But first the café for a snack
There’s lots of things to try!

Leila Allsop (who was 7 when she composed this poem)