St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere – Collaborative Project

Evening folks.  A couple of weeks ago I took part in a project at St Oswald’s Church in Grasmere.  A group of 14 Cumbrian/Lancaster poets wrote poems about the church and then the Lakes Collective group created art work inspired by the poems and the church.  Their blog is here:

You can also read what Sarah Hymas, another poet who took part, thought about the event here

But I thought I would post my poem here for what it’s worth – more interesting is the beautiful art work that was created.  I was stupid enough to not write down the name of the artists that did this work – which was very remiss of me as one of the lovely artists gave me their art work to take home!

Anyway, here is the poem, imaginatively titled or what?

St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere

Tell me about the west wind that meant
no west door was built and Oswald
in the moment before he cut
the oak tree down, and Teresa of Avila
before she was turned to stone
and the man who placed her head
so she could see the altar.  Tell me
of the benches with their shoulders
against the wall, the saying the weakest
go to the wall
and then tell me of the lepers
gathering at the leper door and far-away
saints, standing to their waists in water
as the sun rises, prayers twitching
in their minds like newly caught fish
on a boat deck but most of all tell me
of the man who hangs the flag and winds
the clocks, and the women who lay rushes
as if animals still shelter here.

Here is my new house guest, a saint standing up to his waist in water, placed in the font on the advice of the very good humoured vicar at St Oswalds.


Obviously I haven’t got the font to put him in, so he will have to go on a shelf.

Here is the other piece of art work created in response to my poem.  This was already sold – don’t know who to – but it is beautiful isn’t it? In the middle of the tree there is a a woman’s head – Teresa of Avila’s I think…



5 comments on “St Oswald’s Church, Grasmere – Collaborative Project

  1. How bizarre I was only reading of St Teresa last week. Maybe no coincidence as her Saint day was last week. But still to find her again in a blog, in Cumbria in my in mail! A great read thanks for sharing. Any other events in Cumbria?

    1. Hi – thanks for commenting. There are lots of events coming up – have a look at my Readings and Workshops tab at the top of this blog – I am reading at the Bookcase in Carlisle on the 31st October with Geraldine Green and Josephine Dickinson, and at the Brewery Arts Centre in Kendal on the 1st November with Gill Nicholson and Mark Carson. There is also Poem and a Pint – our next event is November 16th at the Coach House, Ford Park, Ulverston – you can find details at And lastly I’m reading in Lancaster at the Storey for April Poets along with various poets including Mike Barlow – I don’t know where about you are based in Cumbria but you could also check out the Wordsworth Trust – although their summer readings have now finished they still have quite a few things going on for the rest of the year. Their website is
      Hope this is helpful, and thanks for reading – maybe we will meet in real life at one of these events!

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