Age Old Tradition – A Poem By Carol J Forrester #DVersePoets

I should have taken that course,
the one with the guy
who builds drystone walls up north
for the farmers who have to maintain
things the way they’ve always been.
A bit like how I’m still trying
to keep this how it was
when you laid each slab in place
one, against the other,
so clever with your fingers,
finding the flattest stones,
the edges most like jigsaw pieces,
and stacking the pile
till it looked like a skyscraper
even if it always was only a folly.

I’ve just taken part in Caroline Bird’s Brave Writing poetry workshop, so I was a little worried I’d be all poet’d out by the time I got round to the DVerse prompt for this evening. It was an amazing workshop and I feel like a got so much out of it, much as I did with the workshop I did last year run by Mark Pajak. Workshops are a great way to improve your poems and your craft.

Also, my poem When Medusa Goes Shopping went live on The Daily Drunk today! I think this is the first poem I’ve had published in 2020. After writing my collection I felt a bit like I’d run out of poems, and it’s only been in the last couple of months that I really started got the fire back in my belly when it comes to writing.

Since tonight’s prompt is Follies, I’d like to mention Hawkstone Park Follies. It’s a lovely site in Shropshire, built originally by the Hill family, and a local tourist attraction. The family built it as a pleasure garden (eighteenth century gardens designed for noble families to go walking in) and as a result the Follies boast fantastic sandstone caves, a hermitage, and the obelisk which is not actually an obelisk but a monument to the supposed first protestant mayor of London. (Supposed, the claim is a little contested). For those who enjoy walking it’s a fantastic place to visit (though only open between 1st July and 1st November). I’d highly recommend not doing it dressed as the Easter Bunny however. There are some steep bits.


  1. This is terrific, I too feel I have ignored the more practical considerations of being able to do DIY, for example. Car maintenance, plastering. Hm.


  2. I was once shown how to build a dry stone wall at school. I don’t think the lesson stuck, though! A lovely write. And I love the idea of walking around a monument dressed as the Easter Bunny…


  3. A workshop with Caroline Bird sounds interesting, Carol, and I like the premise of Brave Writing. I enjoy taking part in workshops too and always get something out of them. Congratulations on having ‘When Medusa Goes Shopping’ on The Daily Drunk! Your poem got to places most other poems haven’t reached. When I lived in Ireland, I was fascinated by dry stone walls – and there were so many of them. I love the way you describe building them in the lines:
    ‘finding the flattest stones,
    the edges most like jigsaw pieces,
    and stacking the pile
    till it looked like a skyscraper’.


    1. Thank you Kim.
      It was very interesting workshop. There were seven exercises in total so I’ve got plenty of rough drafts to go back to today and start expanding on.
      Drystone walls are such a lovely feature of the countryside, and rely on technique rather than mortar, or other manmade elements. I very much believe in, if it’s not broke, it don’t need fixin’.


  4. Even if it’s folly, stone wall building is a true talent. we have some, here in Vermont, waaaay out in the woods where people USED TO live ages ago, that are still standing a century or more later. Really fine write, CF.


  5. Carol, I enjoyed your afterword as much as the poem itself. Congratulations on being published! Glad you found the workshop helpful. Stone walls and other stone structures are very interesting to me also. Not too far north of here you’ll see loose stones in the median of the highway and along the 2-lane roads homes, fences, outbuildings made of them. They have spirit they do and oh such character.


  6. Carol you constructed this wall of words in the manner in fashion of careful placement as you described in the poem building a wall. I enjoyed it. Well written!


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