Week 2: Words from the Wild


Curiosity and Questions…..A creative writing and literature class online.

Last week we began our new class at St Nicks in York, combining our eco therapy book club and creative writing class to create ‘Words from the Wild’.

We are following the book Maria Sibylla Merian – Artist / Scientist / Adventurer by Sarah. B Pomeroy and Jeyaraney Kathirithamby. This week we will be reading further into the book to discover more about Maria’s life (pages 18 – 28 for those following from home). Last week we looked at the world through fresh eyes and made new discoveries through close observation. Below are some beautiful images sent to me from Jane who is following the class from home (thank you Jane!). I have also included a poem that I wrote inspired by last weeks class and observations made by Kev and Chad during our walk around St Nicks.

So, on to this week: Maria Sibylla Merian grew up in a house of full of life and curiosity. Her father and step-father were both artists so Maria had access to a range of resources and books that sparked her curiosity and hunger to learn. Maria was also captivated by natural discoveries and used the tools she had to record and research what she found. This week we will be using curiosity and research as a theme for creative writing. We are going to have a go at creative questioning and reflective writing.

Task 1: (5 mins) Write a list of ten questions about nature. (It doesn’t matter how silly they sound, ponder things and start asking why!?) Here are a few examples:

  • Why do leaves fall off the trees in Autumn?
  • Where do snails go in the winter?
  • How do birds hear when I can’t see any ears!?

Task 2: (10 mins) Scientific discovery and journalling: Once you have a list of questions write a reflective paragraph for five minutes exploring one of your questions. What made you think about it? Have you ever considered this question before? Do you think you might know the answer?

When you have done the first part of this task follow it up with some research to answer your question. Write for a further five minutes describing what you found out. Did anything surprise you? Did you enjoy this type of writing and research?

Task 3: (5 mins) Nature table. Go out for a short walk in nature, or a garden, or just down the road. What do you see that sparks curiosity? Write down five lines recording your observations. It can be as simple as an unusual weed growing through a crack in the pavement, to pondering the different shapes of clouds!

I will end today with a poem inspired by last weeks class and the lovely walk that I had on St Nicks reserve:

Ruby Red Rush of Apples
(Inspired by Chad and Kev)
Ruby red, rush of apples,
Conical twists of trumpeting flowers
Entangled, winding, bold, white.
Spliced leaves, split, fall,
Cascade over
Woven, wavering bark of the Willow
That climbs up the trunk
Rough and calloused, chaffed and peeling.
Rosehip gems adorned with
Robin’s round pincushions.
Spherical Scabious flowers, dancing, bobbing
Waving from a forest of grass.
A green ocean of fallen crab apples
Forms a sweet-smelling carpet of bobbles
Bubbling brightly on the woodland floor.
Bright petals poke through weeds,
Wild geranium leaves creep over the path.
Ghostly fronds of a weeping Larch
Lilt gently
Brush us softly, 
Trail pine-cones.
The red berries of a fir tree
Translucent and rubbery
Nature’s decorations.
Fierce nettles and thistles guard
A patch of mellow mallow flowers
Late bergamot, blue stars
Turn violet in Autumn sunlight
A mighty shield bug clambers valiantly
A trepid explorer
Amongst splinters of gorse.
A spider’s perfect web
Placed delicately between branches
An almost invisible net
Silver against green.
The soft brush of undergrowth around my ankles
Knee deep in nature.

I hope that you enjoyed this week’s class. I will update the blog with pictures from the session at St Nicks later for everyone at home. Please do send me your words and pictures.

With best wishes,


Published by Emma

Hi my name is Emma! I am a writer and artist. I work for the NHS at Converge (www.yorksj.ac.uk/converge) and I am also an MA graduate in Creative writing and am currently studying for a PhD in Humanities. I have been leading a creative writing class at the beautiful St Nicks in York (www.stnicks.org.uk) for the last five years. When I am not at work I'm on my allotment or at Base Camp (my home) planning new adventures.

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