By Lucy Townsend
After months where many of us have only left our homes for a walk, it feels only right to celebrate the steps we have taken. Our steps into the Downs, by the sea, through town or round the block.
Walks took on a whole new meaning during lockdown - for me they became a necessary event, and one that punctuated my days.
So in honour of walking, this week’s writing prompt takes inspiration from artist Richard Long, who creates sculptures and ‘textworks’ inspired by his walks. Often his textworks read like beautiful lists. Lists of his observations, the colours and textures – the things he experiences in the landscape as he comes across them. Some include measurements, mileages and dates, others are ambiguous two-liners that leave you picturing strange landscapes.
So read some of his work – I love White Light Walk, Walking with the River’s Roar, and Spring Walk, but there are plenty to enjoy – and then go for your walk. You could try the walk that you do every day, or you could retrace some of your most lovely lockdown expeditions. Concentrate on the act of looking and noticing, the result may not be classic poetry, but there’s beauty in the process.
I took a walk through Landport in Lewes, down to the River Ouse, and this is what I saw…
- Brown and moss-green slime with footprints
- Mini eggs and stinging nettles
- A tree trunk with 34 rings
- A crow trying to shoehorn a long stick into a metal chimney guard
- Shrivelled blackberries uneaten on a bush
- Fallen tree – eleven steps long, four feet above my head
- One duck, quacking whilst flying
- Two seagulls
How to submit your work
Your work needs to be a maximum of 14 lines of poetry or 150 words of flash fiction, previously unpublished, that mark this specific time and the uplifting role of wildlife. A Sussex Wildlife Trust panel will then pick a selection to publish in our online anthology.
Closing date: 12 April 2021
Lucy Townsend is a writer, journalist and wildlife lover based in Sussex. She has worked for the BBC and Sky, among others, and is currently flexing her writing muscles on a MA in Creative Writing at the University of Brighton.