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Somewhere Else Writers (SEW) March 2021 Clare Finnemore

Clare Finnemore

The poem for this month is Harebushes Wood by Clare Finnimore. An unexpected stroke of luck led Clare to a Brewery Arts writing course followed by an MA in creative writing at Gloucs University and in scriptwriting at Bath Spa University. Collaborative writing for ‘When Will it Be Me?’ gained success at Bath Fringe theatre, then a docudrama about the first woman to be killed in Raqqa ‘An Ordinary House’ was chosen to be made into a podcast for Ragged Foils Productions in London. More recently ‘Started Early, took my Guide Dog’ was commissioned for radio by Bristol’s Lost Robot company, which, in lockdown still awaits studio space. Clare is currently involved with Bristol’s PECO Theatre company’s project ‘City of Threads’ about blind and visually impaired individuals’ experience of navigating that city with the aim of improving design and accessibility.

In a past life before acquiring a guide dog, Clare worked as an occupational therapist both for the NHS and local authorities.

A love of travel inspired her to write about places as diverse as Australia and Africa, but having moved to Cheltenham recently, after many years in Cirencester, she is now enjoying exploring hills and green spaces with her beloved dog in another part of Gloucestershire.

You can read the poem at cirenscene.com.

For more work by Cirencester writers visit somewhere-else-writers.org.

Harebushes Wood

‘Too humid on our coast.
Due to leave in April,
but no flights to Madras’
he says
Dark skin
disappearing into green.

Oak, beech, hornbeam, lime
ash, alder, quickthorn, pine
emerald, khaki, olive, jade
roots, branches, nettles, ferns

Scents of wild garlic draw me on.
‘You can follow me’

His voice on rustling leaves
interrupting Celtic spirits
hiding in the wood
too ancient to name.
Woodwhoses, cool verdigris, toadstool and moss
casting the spell.

‘Swop me your dream’
he says.
The sycamore beckons
with Sisters Wood and Ragged Hedge,
May’s stage is set.

Then on a sudden, light and space
sheep mown grass
the wider path.
Tarbarrow cricket pitch
and neat pavilion.
Its own amphitheatre
with no crowd.
He talks Tamil names and horses
his mare and geldings
having no exercise.

Then descending further down again
the two paths cross.
‘Safer’ he says
‘Safer this way’
and ‘Here.’

Children’s voices breaking in
I hear cycles in the wood
singing, laughter and the sound of cars.
Through the needle barrier my dog and I,
Stumbling almost onto road
the quiet lane now a dual carriageway
I look around, but he is gone.

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