Poetic talents blossom: crowd-sourced poem celebrates spring 2021

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A crowdsourced poem celebrating the coming of spring 2021 composed from 400 contributions has been weaved together by the nature writer Elizabeth-Jane Burnett in a project by the National Trust and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

Burnett has created a poem called ‘Spring, An Inventory’, which she sees as a riposte to the grim statistics – deaths, Covid-19 cases, hospital admissions – that have been such a feature of the past 12 months. People were asked to send in their contributions to the poem on the first weekend of spring – 20 and 21 March.

“It was a privilege to share in so many people’s experience of spring in this way,” Burnett said. “I chose the form of an inventory for the poem as a way of mapping common themes across submissions and presenting a more hopeful tally of numbers than we have been used to seeing in the past year – in fact, the word hope itself recurred 54 times.”


An extract from ‘Spring, An Inventory’

by Elizabeth-Jane Burnett


Fifty-four hopes in the hardwood held,

slow, the hour brightens

through damp roots and fused shoots the pressure wells,

fifty-one blossoms on the cherry swell,

tiny beech leaves ripen.

Fifty-four hopes in the hardwood held

slow, the hour brightens.


Forty-four trees in the waking woods,

forty-one spilling gardens.

Five cherry trees where the blackbirds stood,

thirty-five joys through their gleaming broods,

thirty-eight buds nectar-guarding

in forty-four trees in the waking woods,

in forty-one spilling gardens.

◄ 'Mama, with an axe, trudged tirelessly each day through deep snow'

When listening isn't enough: Rodney Wood, Independent Publishing Network ►


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