Ian In England

Ian In England

The theme for this week’s JVG Radio Method is “Lakes”

I am over in the UK at the moment and am phoning the poems in to the show.

No rest for the wicked eh?



Icons of your childhood stick with you for life
The imaginings awakened as a kid
So it was a box of pencils inspired a pilgrimage
Driven by the image on the lid

Most children dreamt of ‘Derwents’ – and beautiful they were
But their cheaper cousins ‘Lakeland’ I valued more
The mountains, tarns and valleys embossed upon the tin
Fixated me – who cared I couldn’t draw?

After almost fifty years gazing at that lid
I finally set off on my quest
Made my way to Windermere, the heart of the Lake District
In Cumbria, England’s northern west

I weaved down narrow roads barely wider than the car
Up cobbled lanes, at best, one arm across
Cottages, some whitewashed, others grey green slate
Edged by dry stone fences bound by moss

Mountains and peaks dissolved into cloud
Lakes fed by streams tumbled from the fells
Pathways trekked for centuries still stirred the rambler’s heart
Thirst still quenched from ancient springs and wells

I found the place of Ruskin, artist, author, critic
His social conscience two centuries unbowed
And I found the place of Wordsworth, poet and romantic
Where I too “Wandered lonely as a cloud”

I found the place of feminist and author Beatrix Potter
Where she found her love and caring for the land
Where she wrote of Peter Rabbit and Mrs Tiggy-Winkle
And my forebear in “The Tale of ‘Pigling’ Bland”

I found the place of ‘Bluebird’ on the shores of Coniston Water
Where in search of speed Donald Campbell met his death
They’ve never found his body prompting some to claim he lives
What? Forty years underwater without a breath

I found a place of drinking nestled in a tiny village
Named fittingly enough ‘The Mortal Man’
And I’ve never felt more mortal than after several pints of ‘Crag Rat’
‘Black Sheep’ ‘Black Adder’ and Black and Tan

Everywhere I gazed was a photo opportunity
All I’d imagined lay within
Though I had my camera not one picture did I take
What’s the point – it’s all their on my tin!

So a simple tin of pencils sparked an epic journey
One less thing ‘To do before I die’
Next on my list involves a can of pet food
I’m going to find that bloody dog from Gundagai

So a simple tin of pencils sparked an epic journey
You’d think that would be enough for me
But next I’m off to the outback for a spot of bird watching
With cards collected from the Tynee Tips Tea

© Copyright 2009 Ian Bland

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