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As Tyesha mentioned in her blog, our trip to Arbury Hall included a workshop with writer Jon Mycroft. Jon took us though a number of exercises designed first to connect us viscerally to the place through our senses, then to translate that experience into words. Jon then pulled fragments from each of the students’ writings, and assembled them into the poetic collage below.

This collective poem, which describes little but evokes so much, is the perfect ending to our series of blogs on English Gothic Live.

Peter Coffman
peter.coffman@carleton.ca

As I Step Outside

As I step outside, I am able to let my thoughts free
to walk amidst wild roses and stone men, drowned.
High walls have secrets; sealed arches, no escape.
This feeling is familiar.
History has been left behind in this adapted land.
Through darkened portal into light –
where the sun pierces through the clouds. So bright.
Too bright.
This feeling is familiar.

Silence shatters into silence.
Swaying bodies slowly process.
Crumbled brick vegetation surrounds, encircles us, embraces you.
Somewhere in this private world of cobweb nettles
is a dusty door with three locks. Rough and porous;
It drinks my fingertips.

A fractured monument is forgotten and becomes a knee-high monster,
as a ship drifts closer to the shore, stamping its feet, clashing its sword.
Nothing is straight.
And then there is a growling growing. From where?
Are they coming?
Are they behind me?
Am I lost?
I cannot know, only wonder, how familiar this feeling really is.

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