4.5 out of 5 stars

One of the pleasures that I discovered from lockdown was the pleasure of sitting by the water, It is a dynamic medium that changes constantly during the day, it reflects the weather, moves as the breeze ripples the surface and is never the same each moment.

Way back in 2012, Clare Best and the artist Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis went in search of the water on the South Downs. There had been a drought that year that meant that the wells, furnace ponds, pools and dew ponds that they were looking for had more of less vanished, leaving only the faintest glimpse of their watery origins. Though the water was scarce, what they did find was the landscape that told the stories of those that had worked there as well as the richness of the natural world that of was claiming it back.

Now streams and lakes
Are lucent, hushed –
No hammers, no forges,
No cannon, no soot,
But fire that smoulders
In rusty pools

This beautifully laid out is split into three sections, the first is poetry, then there are short essays from other writers and their response to the landscape of the chalk down and watery places elsewhere in the country. They have also sourced artworks from a private collection that are just wonderful.

The poems are as sparse as they are beautiful. Coupled with Aytoun-Ellis’s artworks this makes a beautiful book to have and to hold. One to be dipped into again and again I think

Three Favourite Poems

How Water Comes Through



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