Open-to-all writing walks inspire an Ode to Skelton

Our community creative writing walks in Redcar-Cleveland got off to a brilliant start last weekend with a theme of ‘People and Place’.

A group of people standing next to an old church

Walkers were encouraged to sniff out facts about local legends in Skelton, Guisborough, and Ormesby Hall, and turn them into a ‘clerihew’ – a four-line mini-poem that tells (or makes up!) a biography.

JW wrote about Alexander Ellis, the local chemist in Skelton:

Alexander Ellis
Knew all about bellis
Folks ran to his shop in a tizzy
When the old Doc “Stivvie” was busy

A group of women walking through a country estate, pulling silly poses

LL was fascinated by the chaotic residency of theatre doyenne Joan Littlewood at Ormesby Hall in the late 1940s. Invited for a night, her theatre company stayed for 15 months, trashed the place, racked up a huge debt, and were oft found in parlous states atop the trees that surrounded Ormesby Hall. The final straw for the Colonel came when military police arrived to arrest one of Joan’s company for desertion, and he asked them to leave.

Joan Littlewood
Was not very good
At bringing a timely end to her stay
Much to the Colonel’s ire and dismay

A group of smiling women sat on comfy chairs in a library

We can’t wait to read the poems that come out of our next walks, which will be:

Friday 24th March – Wildlife & Nature, welcoming Spring

10am-12pm, meet at Guisborough Library [BOOK HERE]

2-4pm, meet at Ormesby Library [BOOK HERE]

Friday 31st March – Myths & Legends

10am-12pm, meet at Ormesby Library [BOOK HERE]

2pm-4pm, meet at Skelton Library [BOOK HERE]

Saturday 1st April – Myths & Legends

10am-12pm, meet at Guisborough Library [BOOK HERE]

Chrissie, a white woman in her forties with bobbed hair and a cheeky smile, sits in a yellow, modern wing-back chair in Ormesby Library. The sign on the wall behind her says Her To Help.

We’ll leave you with this last poem from JW, who rose to the challenge of writing a longer ode in praise of a place – Skelton!

An Ode to Skelton

An ode to Skelton, my new home,
My pride and love of you has grown.
You have churches, a castle and mosaics a plenty
And elevated pavements which used to aid the gentry;
An orchard, a bell tower and an old coaching Inn,
Not to mention famous sons and the rocks with iron in.
You have Barn Owls who welcome and Griffins who guard
and the hypnotic North Sea in your backyard.
A gentle walk through your streets and my senses are filled
Thank you Skelton, I am immeasurably thrilled.

On this warm sunny morning you glow and shine bright,
Spring flowers abound and give  great delight.
School children are singing in All Saints church, 
And blue tits flit-flit, looking for a perch.
The rooks high in their nests caw-caw at each other
And the pheasant shrieks in the graveyard looking out for a lover.
At the side of Duke William I spot the wind farm
Where the ballerina legs turn, so graceful, so calm.
The “Spirit of East Cleveland” stands strong and bold
Across the road from a defib in a phone box of old.

This ancient village with its history, so rich
Has people, places and stories to bewitch
Both locals and incomers (of which there are a few)
And moves forward in thinking to provide for the new
Generation of people to have houses and shops
And gardens to sit in, but that isn’t where it stops.
The Place is Skelton and the People are real
At first glance who would detect the appeal.
If you are driving through quickly, then stop for a while
Look, listen, smell, taste and feel all of its style.

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