Among Animals at Frodsham


April’s Write for Growth at Castle Park Arts Centre in April took Animals as its theme, making the most of the Association of Animal Artists’ wonderful exhibition arrayed throughout the Galleries. We reflected on our first encounters with animals, and on what different animals symbolised for us. We imagined the snap General Election as an alligator whilst the Arts Centre itself was elephantine in size and solidity, or like a chameleon in the ever-changing range of colours displayed on its walls.

We read Ted Hughes’ Hawk Roosting,  and then explored the exhibition, finding animals to voice its answers to the questions we posed. We read Wallace Stevens’

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird and chose an animal painting as a stimulus for our own words. Below are two poems created in the workshop, both about birds. You can find the art that inspired them among the rich menagerie exhibited at the Association of Animal Artists’ website here 


Thirteen Ways of Looking at an Owl


Among the landscape

a barn owl swooped

on the single heartbeat

of the land.


Survival instinct paramount

as food dwindled

in the winter sun.


Foliage, bracken, rotting on the granite canvas,

exposing the hidey holes of its inhabitants.


Where to hide in the daylight hours?

My vantage point to remain unobtrusive.


My nocturnal instincts slumber

next to my diurnal rhythms.


I stretch and preen myself on waking;

alert and taut.


My feathers engage against gravity;

stealthily I take flight.


SILENCE is my mantra.

Uninvited I steal the land


My skills refined and sharp, dictate my actions.

Compassion does not disturb my hunger.


My reputation goes before me.

I am patient, an opportunistic survivor.

The landscape is my haven.


My long-sightedness opens my vista;

you cannot hide from me.


I am a loner.

I hunt alone.

I live alone.

But I always know where to find you


My feathers are my camouflage.

I hide when you are looking;

pounce when you are not.


Diane Blundell 



Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Kingfisher


Small and delicate

you dart over the surface

of the stream.


Shy and reticent

but sharp-eyed;



Usually difficult to spot

by the human eye,

you land where you feel safe.

And pause.


Ever awake

and ready to move,

never resting for long.

At peace, but always looking.


You are free

to live, to move and have your being

wherever you choose.


Your name truly describes you:

King of Colours;

Fisher by occupation.


You herald Summer.

Your colours glisten in the light,

reflected on the stream’s surface.


Shades of healing blue and bright orange

make you stand out

amongst the brown and green.


Reflecting the Summer’s blue heavenly canopy,

you speak truth.


Wings always active,

fluttering in the sunlight.

But where do you go in the dark?


In darkness or shade

you teach me

there is always a gift of joy to be found

however small, hidden or fleeting.


The surprise gift

when found

brings a positive note to experience,

and joy for the journey.


My memory of you

in the Norfolk air

brings comforting thoughts

of joy and pleasure

Nothing threatening.


Jennie Baker

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One Comment

  1. Posted May 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    What wonderful poetry! Thank you for using our exhibition as inspiration! It would be interesting to see what our artists would come up with if they used your words as inspiration for a painting 🙂

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