The Chalk Walk OS Explorer map 143

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

Cheryl Markosky reads The Chalk Walk OS Explorer 143

Age 6
Up Sutton Hill. Where you come off your bike and drama queen sprain your arm. Examined by the retired doctor in the village. A gynaecologist, so maybe not all that helpful.

Age 7
Atop the Roman mound. You imagine rusty-armoured corpses of spear-carrying soldiers buried beneath, like extras piling up at Shakespeare’s Globe. We say nothing, don’t want to disappoint. 

Age 8
Along the farm track. You chuck sticky weed, fusing it to our wet-dog jumpers. Schadenfreude beckons when you brush stinging nettles. A good deal of whimpering.

Age 9
By the Bull in Field sign. You point horn fingers behind wool-fended ears. Pretend stamping and snorting. You describe how the picador stabs at the bull’s neck. The animal’s first major loss of blood. 

Age 10
Beside the watercress beds. You exhume wild garlic – ramson’s a popular homeopathic ingredient – on the banks. Not to be confused with autumn crocus, you warn, which can lead to serious poisoning. 

Age 11
In the graveyard. We spring-fetch elderflower, aromatic hints of hay and honey, to make cordial. Can reduce pain and swelling. Can stop bleeding. We pray to St Cosmas and St Damian, the church’s patron saints of healing. We hope for light, but walk in gloom. You walk a thin line between (something) and (something else). The end of your walk home. 

Nota bene: Users noting errors or omissions are requested to mark them on the map and forward them to the Survey Division.

Read more from the Long List of poems and stories submitted to the WALKING HOME writing competition. Watch winning authors reading their work on the video of the Write About Walking Home showcase event that took place on Sunday 25 September 2022.

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.

Cheryl Markosky

Writer in residence Writer in residence 2022/23

Cheryl Markosky wanted to be a lighthouse keeper, but it was tricky in the Rockies. So, she became a TV producer and journalist. Canadian-born, she now splits her time between England and the Caribbean. Cheryl’s work can be found in EllipsisZine, New Fla...


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