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I can’t help it – walk · listen · create

I can’t help it


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Longlisted for the Write about Walking A/way competition 2023


Parts of me are old as trees,
that creak and knock,
and want to sit dreaming in the sun,
while crowds of children
shout and play, keep me awake seeking
games and lessons,
and need to run.

Tired and gnarled in twiggy woods,
as puppet butterflies
bounce on strings in the morning glare,
greybeard evergreens make
a green tunnel into the heart of me,
trouble my eyes and
disturb my hair.

Or under blankets of messy stars,
nightshade sleeping draughts
of dolorous concoction drip
in my lazy dreams,
while flowers grown high above the window
tap and demand
companionship.

I cannot walk away.

Even in silent meditations
my stillness is all tic and sway,
a constant flickering trance
along a vagal memory
of walking done and yet to do, incessant
tyrant rhythms
of step and dance.

I cannot help but carry on,
and walk, run, play ‘til
some yet unforeseen lightning flash
brings my branches down,
to be a brown house for ceaseless insects,
in the striving weeds
and fertile ash.


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Jan Martin

Jan Martin

Artist and writer based in Somerset UK, where I walk the coast, hills and woodlands finding inspiration for my visual and written work.

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