I’ve now finished most of the 24 poems in my debut nature poetry pamphlet, and I’m optimistically aiming for publication in the summer/ autumn 2020. This will give me time to work on the last few, and then start illustrating them. It isn’t that common to illustrate poetry books, but the few poetry collections I have seen with illustrations add a little bit of magic to them.
The poems cover a variety of landscapes – the riverbank, coastline, countryside, woods – and also birds, wild animals, trees and wildflowers.
I’ve also included some of the nature words in The Lost Words Movement. The campaign, by the nature writer, Robert Macfarlane and the writer and illustrator Jackie Morris to bring back nature words taken out of the Oxford English Dictionary, deemed not relevant to modern life.
My idea to publish a pamphlet of nature poems came to me on a beautiful spring morning last year. I was driving along a country road and went around a sharp bend and straight in front of me was a large hare hopping along the middle of the road. I stopped the car to allow him time to safely reach the field.
However, after a few hops he stopped in his tracks and turned around to face me. For a moment I sensed his curiosity as he looked towards me, he was as still as a statue and had a sense of elegance, and pride about him. I hadn’t seen a hare since I was a child growing up in a country village in the 1970s.
We continued to look at each other for what was probably only a few seconds, but felt like a lot more. It was as if we were both in a film, ‘freeze framed’ until finally his large ears began to twitch and turn – as if he was picking up signals from outer space. Finally, without a second glance he leapt across the road towards the farm gate and disappeared into the field.
It really was a magical wildlife moment – and one that I will never forget. I am now a member of The Hare Preservation Trust, they are dedicated to hare conservation. All the funds they raise go towards projects which directly help hares, e.g. supporting research, campaigning activities, creating educational resources and contributing to wildlife crime initiatives.
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