• Lynnda Wardle

bench // marks

Updated: 4 days ago

In February 2021, locked-down and frustrated, I undertook a daily walk to photograph and write about one fixed place, a bench facing onto the Campsie Fells.

Each cold day, I tramped away from the house with the new pup and recorded 28 short 'noticings' to document the bench, the landscape, my emotions. These became a poem sequence called bench II marks.

As a final gesture, I shared the poem by leaving it (anonymously!) in a biscuit tin on the bench, with instructions inviting local walkers to take the bench//mark poems away and to respond with their own writing if they chose to. I included sweeties (as an incentive to linger), coloured pens, and hand sanitiser. The responses were heart-warming and affirming – so many walkers like me, felt connected to the landscape in different ways and were happy to share this. Many also found that taking the time to sit, reflect and write a response connected them to others, and to the local history of the area. During a lonely, isolating time, this piece of art acted as a fun way to connect some members of the local community.

This act of walking and noticing has become my daily practice: a way to ground myself and stay connected, to reflect and meditate during what has been an extraordinarily difficult year.


This project will be included in the the University of Glasgow's WalkCreate gallery


Some extracts of the work follow:


Day 1

blue sky icy wind

pup refuses the river


so we tramp the track

where the bench is planted


solid slats

against a saltire sky


a beginning


day 3


rusty call of a great tit

squeaks through drizzle


Ben Lomond wears a jaunty snow cap

pup pees on his favourite tussock


I wonder at a broken gate

flat on its back


day 8


I am relieved to escape the heat in the house

walk into pale sun and open sky


a gift after days of gloom locked down

locked in locked up


then the sky stoops and spills

a burden of snow


pup confused as the sky sheds itself

across the valley


I stumble blinded

past Bench


drenched, stamp my boots

back in the hot kitchen



day 12


today I am a reluctant walker

wind crying around the house


so much going on inside


but pup drives us out

cloud-mottled sky


mirrored by ground snow

an upside-down world


ice globules hang

from river rocks


pup’s fur camouflaged against

brown-black land


then emerges through white

he reappears like a mirage


or a miracle


day 20


crunch of gravel underfoot

holds me in my skin


Bench watches the horizon

wheel with stars


relationships unwind and respool


fallen moss-limed birch

pocked by starry vermilion mushroom cups


small flying saucers from

a colourful planet


elsewhere


day 26


why am I never tempted to sit down?



day 27


after the walk

I drop clothes off for you at the hospital


a nurse collects the bag from me at the entrance

no visitors


until this is all over

then we’ll see









64 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All