An Artful Way: Kirkby Stephen Poetry Path

A framed painting of a heron with the words 'solitude'.

On Thursday July 1st, Kirkby Stephen and District ‘Walkers are Welcome’ Dawdles group met for a gentle stroll around Kirkby Stephen Poetry Path – following the route of stones carved with poetry written by Meg Peacock to reflect the farmers’ year.

Ann Sandell from the group wrote some text and submitted a painting as her creative response to the walk. 

Question 1: Creativity – What does creativity/culture mean to you?

Question 2: Connectivity – Covid-19 has forced us all to reimagine ways to connect.  What have you missed – and what new possibilities have opened up?

Question 3: Place – How can we, collectively, and artfully, better care for our environment?

“What a glorious morning for our leisurely walk around Kirkby Stephen Poetry Path, meeting at The Cloisters, Kirkby Stephen Market Square. Armed with two Poetry Path booklets and crayons plus paper to do rubbings from the special plaques to be found on the stones, we also took it in turns to read the poems written by Meg Peacock and discuss their content.

Overwhelmingly, we discussed the sense of place for each stone and the scene that the poems expressed capturing the countryside or the farmers task. It was so easy, on this beautiful sunny morning with dappled shade in the woodland areas, to enjoy the joy of inner peace that the countryside brings together with poetry after our time of anxiety during the pandemic including, when we were unable to meet as friends. We agreed that creativity is enhanced by the landscape and art trails give purpose and attract walkers. 

As well as taking it in turns to recite the poems, we did rubbings from the stones doing our own simple art works. The morning’s experience brought use closer together.

This environment is also uppermost in our minds as we witness Ash Dieback and we are looking for possible projects to address the forthcoming loss which will be so devastating.

The final poem:

There sailed the Heron

Drawing Behind him a long

Wake of solitude

Not only reminds us of the times we have seen a lone startled heron taking off from the River Eden but the solitude we have all felt during the Covid-19 restrictions.”

Ann Sandell

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