Sunday, 16 March 2014

Go Carefully into the Forest

I first discovered this lake about ten years ago when I returned to Delamere Forest after far too long an absence. I wasn't looking for the lake, I was looking for the dense and boggy hollow where I was sure my Gran used to collect wimberries. I followed the path which I thought led to where I wanted to go until coming to a sign saying Danger. Deep Water. What confronted me looked like large-scale tree felling gone wrong, resulting in devastating flooding. Around the margins tree stumps were left to rot in the encroaching water.
I soon learned that this was an exciting scheme to restore an ancient peat bog but my initial reaction was shock. It inspired my only attempt at poetry in recent years. And when I learned much later of the tales of an ancient bog drained by French prisoners of war, it conjured up a picture of one such prisoner and his brief friendship with... Well, that's the story of my novel in progress, The Carpenter and Heron.
In the meantime, here's a photo of the now well re-established Blakemere and the poem which it inspired:
Go carefully into the forest,
Leave the track carefully, warily, scarily,
Storybook people live in the wood.

Go silently into the forest,
Feel the breeze silently, whispering, whispering,
Trees telling stories, singing songs of the wood.

Go moonlit into the forest,
Wait in the moonlight when shuffling, snuffling,
Badgers are scuffling deep in the wood.

Go skipping into the forest,
Down the bank skipping, hopping and stopping,
Looking for mushrooms down in the wood.

Go slowly into the forest,
Round the bend sadly, wistfully wondering
How did it happen? Such a vast clearing, flooded.
And the path to my childhood ends at the water’s edge where trees are dying.


lizy-expat-writer said...

A very atmospheric poem, Rob. Did you find the hollow you were looking for later?

Robert Crompton said...

It's down there under the water - so I only get to go there in my novel when Judy tries to retrace the steps of Mary, her distant grandmother.
The spooky magic of peat bogs - I love it!