Ramparts like Camel’s Humps

I caught myself on the overgrown brambles.
There were so many sticks, I picked one up and walked with it.
I heard a chattering bird, so sweet, like an instrument.

The ramparts went up and down like camel’s humps.
There were dead leaves everywhere like the ocean
and a fence that was leaning like butterflies on steroids.

I lay in the grass and looked at a tree and it reminded me of lunch.
I touched squelching clay and the farmer in the leather cloak
went creeping through the trees.

There were some sticks that felt like holly, and some so soft.
I saw the bark of a tree like a weird, beautiful pattern.
At night, the ghost of a footstep, and I heard a pony neighing.

I heard the shouts of a warrior running after a child.
I lay in the grass beneath the swaying trees
as if there was a photo in the sky.

I heard the trees growing and it reminded me of hills.
The grass grew when I was sitting down.
Slowly it came up.

Lines written by Y3/4 children from Minsterley Primary (Group 2),
and edited by Jean Atkin | 10 March 2017


Molehills and Daffodils

I jumped over molehills one by one.
I saw a beautiful pattern which looked
like the rain was falling down.

I was slowly walking down a hill
on a path scattered with orange leaves.
I saw a woodlouse crawling on my coat.

There were birds singing as I touched the clay.
Yesterday we walked on muddy bright green grass,
this morning I saw daffodils growing.

I jumped like a bunny jumping up to space.
Herbs, plants and flowers were blooming every hour.
There was moss and big holes.

I heard the wind blowing through my ears.
I saw wood up on a tree striping down like a zebra.
I heard birds and thought of the beach at Fasano.

There were cracks in the clay when it dried a bit
and I saw swishy grasses waving from my eye, and
tiny daffodils bloomed slowly on a Tuesday.

Lines written by Y3/4 children from Minsterley Primary (Group 1),
and edited by Jean Atkin  |  10 March 2017


Iron Age Children

On Callow Hill the wind is strong,
it nearly blows me over.

The hill is rocky as if the air
had rained big stones.

The eagle catches his prey.
We write in pictures and shapes.

The man with antlers
is our god.

We’ll roll down ramparts
and we’ll feel free.

Words by members of Pontesbury Brownies,
edited by Jean Atkin | 8 March 2017


                          Hares clay roundel, and poem by Wendy-Jane Walton


Make variations

out of an owl’s eye
the different
views of winter

I look & so many
trees are dead –
we are in
the dead forest

I saw a heart
in the bark
but the negative
in clay is not
the same

prints taken out
of trees are eyes
& sometimes

at the top of Annapurna
I split a stone
left half
brought half back

we make variations
like small stones
our clay
like the fossils
of the future

Words given to Jean Atkin by participants on workshops at Poles Coppice on Saturday 25 February, and edited into a poem.


Nettle leaves so cruel,
crawling through discarded weeds.
Wheat and grain sway in the breeze
ripening and ready to grind.
Cut with sickles of iron and wood
silver at night and gold in sunlight,
grown by Celts, harvested and sold,
Romans flock to see British gold.

Home Education group 24 February 2017




Eye of an Oak

We got off the bus, and got to fiddle with some clay.
We sprinted up the track in the freezing.
We ran on up the hill from the sight of the track.

Cold, damp, we entered the dented slope into the hillfort.
We hunted for something for our clump of clay.

I picked up a leaf and it crumbled when I pressed into clay.
I pressed soft, squishy clay into the bark of a tree.
I put my weight behind it.

We all had a ball of clay.
It was sticky in our cold fingers.

We hunted for plants, leaves, trees to smudge our clay.
I crouched till I found the perfect shape.
My leaf was rough and hard to tear off

but a perfect, delicate pattern transferred.
Out of nowhere Iron Age people

popped from behind a tree,
blue patterns on their faces.
I punched my clay into the eye of an oak.

Lines provided by members of Group 1 from Y5/6 Minsterley Primary School,
and edited by Jean Atkin


Grass, Leaves, Sky

Go through the majestic gates.
Trees, birdboxes, grass, leaves, grass, leaves, sky
I couldn’t catch my breath as we got to the top of the hill.

Ground was lumpy underfoot as I leapt down the bank.
Trees, birdboxes, grass, leaves, grass, leaves, sky
I could hear the sound of children laughing.

When the man roared at us I freaked out.
Trees, birdboxes, grass, leaves, grass, leaves, sky
Going down the rampart it was sloopy mud
I nearly went face-first.

I thought of ponies tied up outside roundhouses.
I was an Iron Age child speeding down the hill.
Trees, birdboxes, grass, leaves, grass, leaves, sky
The tree made a chair in my clay.

He was scary and creepy, he roared like a monster.
Trees, birdboxes, grass, leaves, grass, leaves, sky
The grinding quern, the noises of the farm.

My feet touched vast ground deep in chestnut leaves.
A Cornovii warrior stood sharp with spear and shield.
Trees, birdboxes, grass, leaves, grass, leaves, sky

The snow fell onto my hair.

Lines provided by members of Group 2 from Y5/6 Minsterley Primary School,
and edited by Jean Atkin


Actual Snow, Numb Feet

Actual snow!
And a tree with an eye,
a tree with a beak.
My clay has stuck
to the tree.
We stand
under a crab apple
in small snow
on yellow apples.
A cold wet fern in hand,
numb feet.
I remember both hills
bare of trees.
The sleeping dragon?
It’s always been an elephant.
A sleeping elephant.
Spent hours and hours
over there, that hill,
on my pony when
I was eight, nine.
We do Iron Age knitting, well,
more like crochet.
They knitted themselves socks.
Hands are absolutely freezing.
I can’t feel this oak leaf,
peel it off the clay.

Lines provided by members of the Woodcraft Folk, edited by Jean Atkin