Poetic talents blossom: crowd-sourced poem celebrates spring 2021
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.