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Landscapes: My Labyrinth

originally published on December 2018

I am meant to be writing up a short piece on the landscape research I’ve been studying over the last few weeks. This follows on from two months of landscape / flood management / farming / forestry literature research which is forming the first part of my PhD. I will do two things next week: write a blog post on the first three months of a PhD (mine, obviously), and get my head around the landscape literature I am really struggling to contain into a useable mess (rather than the web of complexity currently in my head).
I tried writing it this morning but it didn’t work. So I wrote a poem instead. It actually says a lot of what I want to say in the essay, but hasn’t quite nailed the political dimension of landscapes as it should….

My Labyrinth
I see, reflected back at me, my childhood.
A memory, a tree
A small stone, and an apple for my best friend.
A fear of climbing where an Ash once stood,
A wild space tamed and paved, uprooted and regrown.
Young trees old and over-mown bluebells surviving pigs and grandmothers and strimmer spells.
Memories in the smell of summer cut grass.
Identity in changing fields and things I’d never change
that will not last.
A land dwelt, worked, drawn in frames of time.
Mine. Not mine.
And yet my strength was built on roads and cliffs and mountains, not in this.
This place on which I built exists in time and mind
I love but have no need to walk the fields, I walk them sleeping, waking, dreaming
I have learnt to separate myself from place and yet cannot, will not, do not have to leave this space behind. It is part of what is mine.