The story she told to the wooden cow

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Her fragile hand caresses me,
my undulating curves, carved sinews,
tweaks my oaken ears.
She whispers,

I’ve heard the Cherries coo, my dear.  And the Birch tree shed its skin.
Write a poem on each silver coil, about the cedars who creak
in time with life’s long bellow.

In my ha-ha, I couldn’t laugh.
She scratches her scarlet scarf with half a smile,
drops a single coil of auburn hair upon my face.

She begs me taste the grass that ripples beneath my sandy hocks,
touches a finger on my charcoaled nose.

Inhale park secrets from the backs of bees,
pats my scraggy forelock, and pauses like the air –


 The irascible robins demand I don’t give this up.
But it’s not my choice.
She shakes her head,
looks directly into my ebony eyes.

Don’t tell

©Jacqui Thatcher 2017


What is with the wooden cow?

The statues of the cows are quite new additions to a beautiful little park in West Sussex.  Not having been to the park for sometime, the cows seem to have appeared from nowhere, and quickly become part of the landscape.   Worth Park was once the ancient forest of  Worth, before making way for the estate owned by the Wiston family and later, purchased by Joseph Montefiore.  The  Montefiore family are said to have grazed herds of prize-winning Jersey cows on the parkland.  Ha-has (walled ditches) were commonly built to protect the formal gardens from straying animals and for this reason, the wooden cows have been situated close to the haha.

Seeing them for the first time on the Beginners Poetry Course, I was uncertain of them; I wanted them to be real, not the fakes that they were, wooden, inanimate.  But I couldn’t forget them; their presence niggled at me and I knew that they were to be the subject of at least one poem.  There was a homely feel to these oddities, a serenity that invited confidences from passers-by.

And that was where it all began.

But why add this today?  I spoke to someone this morning of someone who had found the poems at the park and asked me if I was the poet.  I had almost forgotten about the poems I wrote then and it was so nice to be reminded.

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For more information about the park and its history,




Worth Park Event

Have you always wanted to write poetry but don’t know where to start? Why not come along to this friendly series of FREE poetry workshops exploring the heritage and beautiful natural setting of Worth Park with our Poet in Residence, Patricia M Osborne. There are three workshops – on March 10, March 16th and March 24th. All are from 11-1.15pm. Then on Monday 8th April there will be a sharing coffee morning to celebrate our work.

The workshops will take place in our visitor centre, Ridleys Court, Crawley RH10 3DH. Please contact Patricia for more information on Free but booking essential – please contact to book.

Then all you will need is a notebook and pen!

Refreshments will be served.Image may contain: one or more people, people standing and outdoor