Wyre Forest ‘Woodland’ Poems 

If you can get into the forest this autumn a myriad sights, sounds and smells will greet you.
This selection of poems points to the wildlife, the woodland floor, the power of  forest memories and the threat of drought and fire.

Marion CockinWyre Forest Dipper at Dowles Brook

From The Wednesbury Mangle Theory, Offa’s Press, 2020

Wyre Forest Dipper at Dowles Brook

You watch for dipper.
I see years of fallen oak leaves
on the forest floor
brown, grey and silver with age.
I touch the bridge’s
crumbling bricks
patched with green lichen.

You watch for dipper.
I see young blackberries
as tiny pink eggs in a nest
of brown sepals.
In the meadow
I think yellow falling leaves
are butterflies
until I see
the flash of painted lady,
orange tip and holly blue.

You watch for dipper.
I see the colours
of the brook –
pools of lime, rust
and milky grey.
I hear the green hush
of the trees
and the music of the water.

There he is –
standing on a black shiny
mid-stream stone
bobbing, dipping
making curtsies
to the brook.

Sue Richards

From Ripening Cherries, Offa’s Press, 2019

only the creak
of branch on branch
old cones underfoot

Cherry Doyle – Fungus

From September, Offa’s Press, 2019


They come like dew, with winter nights
around their backs, studded with scars –
fester in the brain’s base, bubble up
to knuckle trees and constellate lawns.

They court with jellied jewels, feral lips,
and soft soles bared beneath brambles;
recycle, stone-still; frilled trumpets silent
as the cold sun lowers its flag between the trees.

Jenny Hope – Wyre Forest

Originally published in Petrolhead, Oversteps Books, 2014, and included in The Poetry of Worcestershire, Offa’s Press, 2019

Wyre Forest

August, already the leaves are pinched by autumn.
The trees are quiet today, visitors unwilling
to risk the rain.  The forest is looking inward.

A tree clings to a slope, its roots grip like protruding veins.  
As a child, I hid between these feet
and spent the day with my kin, but left before dark-fall.

We leave after lunch.  Our children doze in the car like dogs.  
And all the while my daughter’s voice, like music,
winds through the trees.  It haunts me.

Simon Fletcher – From Rain

Simon Fletcher from The Cherry Trees of Wyre, Angria Press, 1997

Note: This was written at ‘Gladderbrook’, Bliss Gate, in the forest, 1976.

From Rain

It is raining
and has been for a day,
the first in forty three,
ever since St Swithin’s.
The forest is saved,
no more patrols,
no fire to brush out.

[   ]

The golden rod and one red rose
brighten the room full of memories,
photographs, ornaments, flowers,
dark wooden furniture;
warm and safe,
now that there is rain.

Writing Suggestions


Marion Cockin describes a situation where someone (her other half?) is on the look-out for dippers, a regular presence in the forest, while she contemplates other aspects of the forest. This is a clever technique that allows her to indulge her descriptive powers and show the forest in its complexity and colourful variety. If you can get into the forest this autumn try to capture that complexity in your use of colour and the emotions they evoke.


Sue Richards’ haiku captures one sound of the forest and a single image of a pine cone. Try writing some haiku about your patch of green, be it the garden or the local park. You don’t, as Sue doesn’t, have to follow the traditional 5-7-5 formula.


Cherry Doyle writes about one of the less obvious and less attractive aspects of the forest, fungi, but makes them quite appealing. Try writing something about an aspect of the forest that is usually over-looked, unpleasant or dismissed.


In her poem Jenny Hope describes how memories of playing in the forest as a child are conjured by taking her own children to the forest. Do you remember strange and wonderful experiences of being in Wyre or other forests when you were young? Don’t be afraid to reminisce.


The final poem was written during the great drought of 1976, by a young Simon Fletcher. It points up the fragility of living in a forest during drought and the relief when there was rain after forty two days. Do you have any memories of extreme weather conditions that affected your rural part of the region?


Or, if you are not moved by any of the above, have a go at writing something based on one of the photos in this section.

Send us your poem!

When you think you’ve finished your poem you can send it to Simon and Cherry at Offa’s Press.

There will be an opportunity to discuss or re-draft poems. In 2021 we hope to publish an anthology of countryside poetry, In the Sticks, that could well include your work.