An Afternoon Walk in the Jura

Long listed for the WALKING HOME writing competition run in January & February 2022

Straight up from the track by the church
we skirt the cowsheds on to steep pastures,
a rutted path into the pines and hazels,
the teasel highland ploughed by wild boars’ snouts. 

On the ridge, a chalet shades the cold spring.
Chain-sawn log benches arc round
a ring of fire-charred stones; inside, cowstalls,
a ladder to the loft, the perfume of hay. 

Timbers settle quietly as the sun leaves the valley:
the chalet rests, the day’s heat drawing
resins from the cut wood; new night scents
fuse into the rising mountain breeze. 

We might not come again before the snow
clamps the high ground. Our hands brush, explore,
capture the shape of our summer faces.
Then, bright in the flattened sun, we head down
the forest track, back to the softer green below. 

The wind sends late-day signals as we drop.
A hare, emboldened, halts to stare; deer browse
by the scrub fringe, a fox coughs, owls’ wings stir.
We scramble down the hairpins, stride the easy
final stretch, reach home, washed in golden light.


Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Listen to winning authors read their work at a showcase event on Sunday 25 September 2022 (booking details to follow).

Itching to write something yourself? Submit a piece to our Shorelines project, and invite your friends to read it aloud. Join one of our creative writing workshops or keep up to date with all our competitions by signing up to our curated newsletter here.

David Thompson

David Thompson

After military service and studies at Oxford and the Sorbonne, I worked in Ibiza and back in Oxford before moving to New York as a translator at United Nations headquarters, followed by five years with the UN in Bangkok as translator, editor and interprete...

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