The Promise of Bluebells

A poem arising from a Wandering Words commission to make some writing in response to the Lordswood area of Medway

Leaving the library at a brisk pace

we stride the alleyway like a pack

pound concrete with determined feet

in sportswear, trainers, rucksacks


The houses keep their distance

tidy gardens with sculpted hedges

magnolias weeping

blossoms on the lawn


Chatter rises like birds –

of spring and Thursdays

last night’s TV

pensions, May Elections looming.


The leader halts at main roads

entices us like Pan, into the woods

her high-viz jacket gleaming through

the filtered light of trees.


The world recedes, the sound of traffic

muted, borne away by briar, bark and branch

knotted, knitted arches, sprouting shoots

tangled roots, the snap of twigs

mimicking a world of wolves

secret dells of badger, rabbit, fox.


Mascari lift their blue heads from the earth

preparing us for bluebells, so I’m told

‘shame you couldn’t come in two weeks

they’d be out then, cover all this woodland floor

a sea of blue, a carpet …’


How soon we have become a tribe:

wait for, keep up, look out;

in step in twos and threes

stories spill: of change

retirement, illness, hope, of finding

things to do, to fill the spaces empty now

of work and children, usefulness.


And through the woods we go, and pause

and look, and talk and share, and time

surrounds us, holds us captive

transforms our small and burdened lives

reconnects us

with arboreal spaces, which harboured knights

and peasants, swine and swindler

geese and lords and ladies of the manor


clasps us in a close embrace

a meditation, a transcendental moment

where we remember who we are –

nature’s children, walking now

stronger now, to face that other world

we dream in.