All is safely gathered in.

Last week at Cavendish and Newholme hospitals, we looked at harvest time. At Stanton Day hospital at Newholme, I took part in their harvest festival, reading a poem from the Dales Tales anthology, which features poems written and inspired by the hospital patients in my creative writing sessions. We enjoyed talking about this fruitful time of year and the possibilities it brings. Here are a few of the poems I wrote, inspired by tales of harvest and picking fruit.

Scrumping apples

Scrumping apples!

Harvest Time

Wintertime is coming –
We gather the harvest in:
Wheat and corn.
Celebrate by baking bread,
Making soup, boiling jam.
The fruit ripens,
And flowers fade,
After the harvest festival.
The children make hampers
For the altar display,
Excited about Halloween,
Dazzling fireworks,
Pumpkin pie and parkin.



Blackbirds love the rowan berries.
Rosehip syrup and soup or potage.
Blackberry jam, for making merry,
Picked from the field at the back of our cottage.
My wife made me pick blackberries all day.
She told me that I’d enjoy them yet.
Boiled up with sugar the old fashioned way.
The kids ate the jam before it was set.
Blackberry Liqueur (known as crème de mŭre)
Sloe gin and damson to give you a glow.
Well worth a risky scrumping adventure.
I got caught up a tree because I was too slow!


Harvest Festival at Stanton Day Hospital

On the table.
There are tiny apples from the tree outside.
Red like plums.
Very small, but sweet, and completely organic.
Sheaves of local wheat and barley.
Oranges, and bananas from Belper.
A box of chocolates.
We read the hymn,
All is safely gathered in
The words stick,
Contemplating the cycle of life.
The parable of the sower
Tells us that if we’re ready to listen, we’ll hear.
Our ideas might fall by the wayside,
Or might take root and do good in the world.
The events of life can take over and choke us.
But with the right support, we can grow.


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