Welcome Back! WEEK 1 Jan 2021. WORDS FROM THE WILD! Poetry.

Hello Everyone,
A warm welcome back to you all following our winter break. I hope that you are all staying safe and looking forward to a new term of creative writing with St Nicks Eco-therapy Creative Writing class. As of last term we have combined our usual bookclub run by William with the Creative Writing class. This means that each week we will pick a piece of literature, prose or poetry to inspire the creative writing activities. This term we thought it would be nice to start the new year focusing on poetry.

The first poem that William has chosen for us to read is called Willow Warbler and was written by Siofra McSherry. I can’t post up the poem for copyright reasons, however if you would like to find the poem for yourself there is a link on Siofra’s webpage as follows: https://sioframcsherry.com

Willow Warbler is a beautiful poem that reflects on the journey of the migratory bird and the contrasts between the cold winter in the UK and the warmer season in Africa where the Willow Warbler goes to shelter during our winter months. Siofra writes that the Willow Warbler is a night flyer and that it is believed that the Willow Warblers navigate the journey using the stars. Migration, stars and contrasting seasons will be the inspiration points for our four creative writing tasks. Enjoy!

Task 1: Night time migration. (5 mins). We often think of birds in flight during the day. Imagine a migratory bird flying at night. Think about the shifting colours in the sky from dusk to dawn and the glittering stars in-between. Think about the contrasts of flying over ocean, country side and town. What would it feel like to be night flying? Make a list of as many words as you can think of describing the sights, sounds and senses of a night time flight for a bird.

Task 2: Hunkering down for the winter. (10 mins). Think about the creatures that remain with us during winter. Hedgehogs and Dormice will now be hibernating for the long winter months. Write for five minutes on the theme of hibernation discussing the pros and cons of curling up in a nest for a few months. You might want to argue the case from the point of it being better to migrate to a warmer climate instead, or from the point of staying cosy and tucked up at home. You can either write about your own perspective on this, or from the point of view of a chosen creature. Have fun!

Task 3: Arriving on distant shores. (10 mins). Draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left side of the page make a list of as many words as you can think of describing the current weather where you live. On the right hand side of the page make a list of contrasting words about a place that is the opposite of our current weather. For example: UK winter weather might include words such as: freezing, icy, windy, cold. If I imagine a hot desert climate my contrasting words would be things such as: hot, arid, dusty, dry.

Once you have your list imagine that when you open your front door it magically opens out to a contrasting place in the world. Go for an imaginary walk through your new landscape, describe it in detail and how it feels. If you want to you can follow this up with a contrasting piece of writing describing a local winter walk.

Task 4: Five lines: (five mins). Staying positive through the current times are essential. Write five lines depicting things you have seen recently in the natural world that are beautiful, fun or interesting, or things you are looking forward to in Spring. Here are my five lines as an example:

Cobwebs dusted with frost hanging from a railing.

A large iced puddle that when walked on cracked like creme brûlée!

Golden ash keys hanging from bare branches.

A pink dawn stretching across the sky.

A robin as round as a bauble singing at the top of his voice!

Please do share your own five lines with me via email or in the comments to this blog. The class will remain online until further notice due to the current lock down. If anyone is interested in some Saturday art challenges let me know and I will put some up on here.

Best wishes,

All images courtesy of pixabay, except for leaf shots which are my own.

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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