The Age of Aquarius

This year, Winter Solstice fell on the same day as a powerful, highly anticipated astrological conjunction. The solar system’s two largest planets, Jupiter and Saturn, aligned in the sign of Aquarius, appearing close together in the sky. This rare event only happens every twenty years. It heralds a new age of change. Aquarius is an air sign, and is said to bring an era of creativity, inspiration and new ways of thinking. A time to embrace spontaneity, think outside the box and be innovative.

Book Week Scotland Poetry Safari – November 2020

Lockerbie Writers

Have you ever been on a poetry safari?

In November 2020, residents of Lockerbie and the surrounding communities had the opportunity to do just that!

If you missed the safari – or you visited and would like a chance to see it again – keep reading for photos as well as special insights into the poems …

Please Note: Photographs of individuals are copyright of the photographed individual. Photographs of the nature reserve and poems are copyright Kerrie McKinnel 2020. Words are copyright of Kerrie McKinnel 2020, except quotations and feedback which are copyright of the individual contributors. All rights reserved.

About the Project

To celebrate Book Week Scotland (BWS), Lockerbie Writers group teamed up with A Novel Approach writing group and local poet Eryl Gasper-Dick to produce nine new poems.

Welcome to Lockerbie Wildlife Trust Eskrigg Nature Reserve!

Book Week Scotland takes place every November, and is coordinated by…

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The Holly King

I am a giant, enchanted tree,

with glossy green leaves and red berries.

I am Winter, I shorten the sun.

I am the Old Year, that can’t be undone.

I am the dark, the sleeping ground,

Where no material things are found.

Rest in the night, prepare for the day,

May peace and goodwill come your way.

Tomorrow will bring new light and love,

So accept the things that you cannot have.

Embrace the change, the growing sun,

For a season of re-growth will always come.

Lesley Bradley

A music sized hole

Many of us have cancelled gigs, festivals, theatre and music events this year. It’s left a huge gap that’s been hard to fill. I wrote this poem about it during lockdown. I’m sharing it now, alongside a picture from a local artist. Jamie’s picture (shared during #inktober20) really expresses the joy and atmosphere of live music that connected us all. This is also dedicated to all the artists who have been waiting in the wings. We will welcome you back with open arms and never take it for granted again.

CHANGED

People, masked and changed.

They are the beginners, nervous.

Edging along the new, hard lines.

Wrong-footed,

By a virus that towered, out of sight.

But, I miss,

A bubble of laughter escaping a strangers’ lips,

A quick hand to their open mouth,

Nudging elbows,

Eyes rolling and creased.

I miss,

Colliding with a stranger at a gig.

Sharing rain,

Throats stretched up, off key.

Till the stage lights are dimmed.

Copyright image, credit and thanks to Jamie Douglas.

Mycelium Rescue

This week (16th-22nd November) is Book Week Scotland. I have been delighted to take part in a Poetry Safari along with other writers. Nine poems have been placed along a 3km trail in the Eskrigg Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Lockerbie.

The small, peaceful reserve is a mixed area of heath and woodland that is rich in wildlife. When I visited, it was a bright, late Autumn day with a blue sky, clear air and picturesque views.

The theme of this year’s Book Week is Hope. My poem is set in a dystopian future, but ends optimistically with mycelium roots sending out signals to rescue the growth of some fragile, young trees. Mycelium are regarded as the underground’s internet. The Earth is never silent and our lives are all intertwined with Nature.

The Safari was supported by a local poet who provided a very engaging tutorial and feedback.

Eskrigg Nature Reserve, Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland

If I were a ….

If I were the moon, I would float mysteriously around our planet, draping my smooth gown, like a canopy over the world. I would be silvery white, pale or bright depending on where you were seeing me. Reflecting on rivers and ponds and lakes, shimmering and quiet.   I would watch the fox calling for her cubs at night and hear the plaintive howl of the lonely wolf. I would calm troubled souls who have difficulty sleeping, bringing cooler air and a softer sky, dipped in shy starlight. I would keep everyone safe. Drifting and dreaming. I  would pull the mighty waves of our great, roaring oceans. I would summon the restless winds from all corners. Then I would set free the dancing, snowy, seahorses at our shores to prance and frolic before they vanish at the water’s edge, leaving solace in their wake. I would whisper to my friend, the moon hare. He is an alchemist, as old as the land. Together, we would charm Nature to bring re-growth and new beginnings. Sea turtles would hatch on ancestral sands and I would lovingly guide them to crawl towards the sea. As the sun started to wake, I would invite the birds to start their sweet, morning song. I would rest and wait, almost out of sight. A muted, subtle face, only just visible in certain light. Separated from the world until the birth of the next night.  I would come and go, as sure as the constant tide of our seas.

The Cloud

Up, up Emeris swam, her tail flexing strongly behind her. Until she crashed through to The Top with a sudden gasp. She twisted and turned, her yellow hair spraying water in every direction. She couldn’t see another living soul. She shielded her eyes from the brightness with one arm as she caught her breath.

The Cloud watched Emeris. She looked like a spinning top, set adrift in the water.

“Is the She-Fish lost?” The Cloud asked the languid Yellow-Star who blinked in surprise and dipped behind The Cloud to get a better look. Emeris suddenly got scale-bumps and she clutched her arms around her. The Cloud floated down to her and spoke. “She-Fish, can I help you find your way?”

Emeris rubbed her eyes and shook her head, trying not to gape. Was she dreaming? “The Top is so, so .. big!” She stuttered, feeling a little overwhelmed and not having a clue what she should do next. “Where should I start?” She flipped around again. “Where is everybody?”

The Cloud chuckled. “The Heavy Planet is vast and wide, She-Fish, but we all share the heat of the same Yellow-Star.” She drifted along a little, so that the warmth of the rays could shine on Emeris, who felt her arms start to relax. The sea bed was a murky place compared to this, mired in dark shadows and cold weeds. She looked around, noticing that the honeycomb rocks and jade trees were bathed in golden light. Her eyes settled on the shore line, shimmering in the distance.

The Cloud hovered, gliding sideways to keep Emeris warm. “The Silver-Star commands the water at The Edge. When she pulls the waves back, The Island appears”. Emeris wondered how it would feel to lay there, her tail glittering in the sunlight. The Cloud bobbed down, noticing that the She-Fish was listening attentively. “It happens a few times every day. You just have to learn to time it. When the water faces the Silver-Star, she is strongest and the pull is fast. Take care then, She-Fish”.

“Thank you”, Emeris had found her voice and a tentative smile.

The Cloud nodded. “Wait for the Silver-Star to pull back, for only then will the creatures of the Island reveal themselves”. Emeris let out a sigh of wonder, her eyes rounded in excitement. The Cloud started to float up, then slipped back. “And if you come back when the Silver-Star shines most brightly of all, when the Canopy is black and cool, you will see the Moon Hare. He is the Guardian of the Night Stars and he joins the Island to the sea. “

A sudden, unexpected gust of wind swept The Cloud sidelong, but she danced back, just within earshot of Emeris. “Alas, the Moon Hare is wounded. Perhaps you can help him?” Then another rush of wind carried her some distance, further away from the other clouds, hanging drowsily in the sky.

Emeris wondered how far The Cloud would sail in one day. How many other Islands had she seen, beyond The Top? She looked up at the sky, searching for the sleeping Silver-Star. Who was the Moon Hare and how had he been hurt?

So many questions whirled around her head. Where to start? Suddenly determined to discover some answers, she dived back down with an almighty splash. She had to find the little seahorse, Hope. There was no time to lose.