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The River by Catherine K, Year 11 Ripley St Thomas

Children use to chime,
As birds of all sorts used to rhyme,
While the weightless water danced,
Across the rough rocks,
As animals of all sorts scurried through the white water,
Swimming swiftly away from yapping dogs,
And joyful cheers echoed across the river,
From the busy golf course aside,
But now all is still,
No children in site,
Birds whining eerily,
As murky water drifts across,
Plastics of all sorts,
The only sound,
Is the busy road aside,
As few lonely animals,
Swim rapidly away from litter,
Which was left by children,
who use to chime

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See Life, Sea Life by Justine W, Ripley St Thomas

When I visit the countryside, I love the dark skies,
No light pollution and can see all the stars
If you follow them the lead you to Morecambe Town,
Which I love also, and has lights of its own
Many bright lights, neon colours, flashing,
The stars disappear, all but a few and my eyes a draw downwards
Mind my footing on the ground
In one shop, then another, scanning the pavements to continue forwards
The Bay air is salty and smells of wet stones
People are everywhere, cars driving home
Bus stops as frequent as streetlights, street life, pedestrian chaos
The sea, the Sea Life metres away, secretly busy a life of its own
I’ll travel by train to Lancaster City, drenched in history, a thousand year pretty
I can shop ‘till I drop, meet friends, go for lunch and watch people
Doing the same without pause, pedestrian chaos
The medieval Castle, The Cathedral, the HUGE river
River Lune fuelled by the Sea power, from cumbria to Lancashire
Did I see the river today or the sea or the stars?
No not really though I journeyed as far
But The Sea saw me, and let me breath, let me eat, let me shop, kept me warm
I’ll see the sea next time, its coming to town,
Morecambe town, The Eden Project, bringing a Sea Life centre
Sea Life above ground, more people, long journeys, no stars
To See The Sea Life, via trams, trains and cars.

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The Run away land by Violet B, Year 9 Ripley St Thomas

I ran away from the grim face of society,
The dizzying climate of the city,
Moving my step towards tranquillity,
I stood there, letting it enter my soul,

How can beauty like yours be committed to live in this place,
I listen again to the whispering waves,
Music of nature, calming but so loud
The birds humming their silent songs,

Beauty is that which attracts your soul,
I reached a lonely spot were the sand meets sea,
The runaway land is the place to be,
Oh, Orkneys how you call to me.

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At the Bottom of Kielder Water by Joe Williams

‘There are villages,’ they said.

Houses, and a school, a church,
and if you swam down far enough
you’d find them, could poke your head
inside, like a goldfish in a shell.

But someone else said ‘Bollocks,’
they knocked it all down long before
they let the water in.

As if that makes a difference.

As if the ghosts of Plashetts don’t
still float between their sodden rooms,
backstroke to the village shop
for milk, bread, the Chronicle,
news from yet-unsmothered towns
where trout don’t pass through walls,
and not everybody knows what it’s like
to feel the water rising
over their heads.

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Urban Pedestrian by Joe Williams

The urban pedestrian knows all the tricks.
Every ginnel, every back street, every right of way,
knows how to shave a minute
and exchange monoxide main road
for a park or a lazy canal.

The urban pedestrian knows what it takes.
He’ll be there in exactly thirty-two minutes.
No traffic jams can spoil his plans,
no two star Uber drivers,
no buses lost to suburban Bermuda triangles.

The urban pedestrian strides on his way,
alert to his only enemies:
the dawdling fool
and the little red man
who always says ‘WAIT’.

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Allegro on the Overpass by Joe Williams

See him there, the dancing fool,
Nureyev in Adidas,
cabrioles the carriageway,
allegro on the overpass.

Dancing as the lights go down,
St Vitus on Commuter Row,
gliding by the gridlock line,
step and turn and quick quick slow.

Dancing to the death of summer,
Fred Astaire in rush hour hell,
tapping through the traffic jam,
disco, tango, tarantelle.

The fool keeps dancing,
Tony Manero on Yorkshire slab,
dancing like the last Saturday
night we’ll ever have.

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Homeless Jesus 3: Jesus Scents the Burning Moors by Steven Waling

From his bench he can’t see the hills but smells them even from here: myrrh? Sweet acrid. Stepped slopes paths once trodden by millhands smoking like chimneys in the valleys below. Coughed out years ago – last time he was there they were weaving the peat bogs back together. Bog myrtle, sphagnum moss the weft the warp. Smell of burnt meat from the Christmas markets as he feeds the vixen from his kebab. She loves a bit of spice, works the back of Thomas Street’s Indian café’s yesterday’s curries and naans. She tells him of burrows burnt ground nests flamed in seconds. Shadows wandering ruined trails ghosts of the song of themselves. Fox licks the wounds

on his hands the stink of the lost

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The Castle on the Hill by Verity D, Year 7 LGGS

At the top of a hill is where I stand,
Often forgotten but always there,
To tourists I’m just an attraction,
But my history holds lots of action,
On winter days I’m hidden by the mist,
So camouflaged, I’m easily missed,
Cars drive past, some see, and some don’t,
The wind keeps my flag held high,
And I often dread the days that it is only halfway to the sky,
The keys to me are kept very hidden,
All the way in London in a big palace fit for a king,
The local homeowners get to see my beauty in the morning,
But I think others forget to even see up from their phone unlocking,
Before phones came into this universe,
I was the only thing that made them feel that they were away from the outside world,
When cars speed past,
Their engines roar and release sour gas,
It sometimes damages my bricks and puts people off because of the mist,
I wish it was like the old time when people took carriages and pointed out my gates to their kids,
Now all they do is look past what lies behind my bricks,
So, if you ever see me on a walk or in the car,
Please come and see all that lies behind my golden crest.

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Their Home by Valentina C, Year 8 LGGS

A forest of birds, foxes, and deer
Once a beautiful scene, animals hidden but present
Peaceful sounds and paths that curve around the woodland
Environment of serenity, calm.
And now, cars drive past
Their engines roaring so loudly the atmosphere changes completely
Home… ‘Where’s home?’ They ask
Save it we can, if our world forces combine
It is true that I am guilty, in you I confide
Now read the first word on every line

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Shut up, the wrestling’s on by Laura Strickland

When he staggered back
on a Saturday afternoon
he’d switch the wrestling on

and you had to be quiet.

He’d tell you to move
and his wasted body
would fall into his chair,

then the snoring would start
and you’d creep up to the TV
and turn over, but never

get the volume down quick enough.

You’d go to bed and think about
how it would be in a hundred years
without sweaty wrestlers writhing ‘round

to the sound of him slurring them on.

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Documentary by Ian Seed

It’s about a man recovering from mental health issues. We watch him as he opens the door of his sheltered housing bungalow, blinking in the sunlight. Next we see him attending a course at the local college. He waves cheekily at us through a classroom window, as if to say, ‘Look! I’m trying to get better – all those taxes you pay for my treatment are not wasted.’ But now he’s walking on a sort of sea of crushed forest, formed from dead trees over millions of years. The sea heaves and swirls. He could be swallowed at any moment. Yet his smile radiates confidence.

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In the Empty House by Ian Seed

We found what looked like a piece of light,
unmoving, frozen in the shape of a human being.

We were afraid to touch it – it looked cold enough
to burn us. What would happen if we could unfreeze it?

Would it melt and vanish, or would it keep its shape
and come alive? Could we take it away with us?

Would it make any difference to how we lived
or loved, one way or another

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This Summer by John Scott

This summer, I saw a seventy year old man, climb an eleven foot high, barbed wire fence.
I saw him drop down the other side amongst pipework, minimum wage swearwords and the half-arsed barks of a guard dog, called Nigel.
This summer I carried a collapsible ladder wrapped in thick blue carpet down a gully of nettles, briars and low hanging branches.
This summer I stifled in a safe house with closed windows and net curtains; half-slept, sweated on top of an unmade bed, woke up ready, 5am.
This summer I became reunited with the best version of myself.
This summer I sat in the lead car, weaving through empty streets to our rendez-vous with holy windows wound right down and the music of presence roaring quietly in my ears.
This summer I imagined myself a tree with roots reaching downwards.
This summer, twelve other human beings and I formed a perfect moving creature, waving and cheering when our orange banner unfurled at the top of the installation. Job done.
This summer I was watched by the insect eyes of a drone.
This summer I was stopped and searched by the police and told to get a bath by Essex white van man.
This summer we appeared in a photo on page five of The Times.
This summer the lion lay down with the lamb.
This summer I passionately embraced those who possessed this incredible magnificent light.
This summer I was followed by an unmarked Police car.
This summer I lost interest in many things. But it was the things that seemed to move away from me.
This summer I seemed to be led.
This summer the thunderstorms were louder and clearer than before. The yellow light mixed with the dust. The grass was burnt. Railway stations were watched. The coffee machines had no slot for money and no-one was minding the till.
This summer my eighteen year old self poured himself back into my limbs. This summer my fears took a holiday. This year my feet left the ground in a most purposeful way.

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Lancaster Library by Ruby H, Year 8 LGGS

I rush through town in haste
To reach my perfect safe place
One man stops me, just to say
‘Why run so fast that way?’
I turn and tell him, showing my cheer,
‘Lancaster Library is over here’

‘A world of knowledge free to everyone’
Man ‘But the thing is there’s never one’
‘That I live close to, will it accept me here’
Me ‘it doesn’t matter how near’
‘You live where you live it’s not a problem’
‘Just come, the books are awesome’

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In the Cemetery by Bryony Rogers

In the cemetery men make prayer
with cans wrapped
in blue plastic bags. ‘Love

suffereth long
and is kind’ reminds the marble headstone

while John McCartney, (husband, brother
lover, friend) sleeps
beneath a scattering of blue glass and pink silk flowers.

Domine Domine, sing
the birds

while a man stumbles at the crossroads, in the shade
of a broken angel. The

grass bursts green
beside the pathway, beckoning

into birdsong
and the coming


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The internal and external environment by Natalie Robinson

Perched on your suite knees turned towards you; I wait.
In your external environment,
My eyes drift to the mantelpiece,
A clock set in glass ticks,
Gloved, masked and aproned,
You glance at me,
Then you begin to speak,
Sharing your narrative,
The environment within,
Books tumble from your library,
Russian dolls of self,
Unpacking and restacking in my presence,
I imagine us, you and I, somewhere different,
The environment is changing,
You present with the occupations you love,
Belonging felt within the community again,
Spinning new wool of life from the spindle wheel,
A lump hit the back of my throat,
My environment,
The dam has been breached,
I feel a flood and the need to hold space,
The professional boundary,
Invisible, unseen yet honoured,
I vacate your home,
Dismissed from your reality to mine,
To sit inside my Micra,
With the books from your library in my head and heart,
I unwrap the chocolate and place it on my tongue, waiting for it to melt.
Seat belt on and a key turned; the road whispers “home”.

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Environment Poem by Rebecca H, Year 8 LGGS

Installed in my throne of leather,
Wrapped within my Safety harness,
Whilst taking a gander out the window.

Enclosed in my metal ride,
Sights whizzing past,
Enjoying the endless tranquillity,
Taking over the wheel of authority.

As we drove,
The road turned rainbow
from the oil spills.

Think about the world while your sitting there,
Think about the danger of our species,
While taking a gander out the window.

Exposed to the truth of this ride,
Smokey images blurred past,
Constant terror for our planet,
And the wheel to our future takes over you.

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If nuclear power’s the star of the hour
Where do we dump the waste?
Near some big city, or village so pretty?
Don’t make this decision in haste.
Leaving it here for offspring to fear
Is nothing short of a crime.
What will they do if a terrorist crew
Attacks it in their lifetime?


Tall white turbines soar above
While folk beneath are forced to cower.
Across our land this dreary band
Gives constant drone but not much power.
Fanning blades, long shadows cast.
They blight our fresh green countryside.
Mighty towers that dwarf sunflowers
May soon be seen from each roadside.
Once our fields are used, abused,
When every metre bears a steeple,
We’ll have to go far, far away
And find a place with room for people.

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Elsie’s Caff by Susan Osborne

Ther was an owd biddy from Lancs
Who was famous fer cookin’ ‘am shanks,
A treat fer a Sunday,
Leftovers on Monday,
Fer t’ workers who always said, ‘Thanks!’

Fer Elsie’s mid-week beef stew,
Ther was always an ‘elluva queue,
Lemon meringue pie,
Was a sight fer sore eyes,
A temptation fer more than a few.

‘Er rhubarb an’ custard was ace,
Folk came from all over t’ place,
They piled in to t’ caff,
It wer served wi’out faff,
As long as the diners said ‘grace,’

In winter ‘er broth was a winner,
Yer couldn’t ‘ave tasted owt better,
When t’ cowd wind blew,
Elsie’s broth warmed yer thru,
Wi’ ‘ot crusty bread fer yer dinner.

When t’ Bramley apples arrived,
Excellence could not be denied,
Wi’ ice cream or custard
This pie was a must ‘ave,
A real taste of Heaven, no lie.

Owd Elsie alas kicked the bucket,
Caff shut till new owners took it,
They spruced up the venue,
Kept the same menu,
But we all missed the way Elsie cooked it!