Community Centre and Gallery

Main Street, Shap, Cumbria, CA10 3NL


The following poetry has been submitted by some of those who attend writing workshops at The Old Courthouse facilitated by Susan Allen, Community Engagement Officer for the Wordsworth Trust.  Before lock-down the writing workshops were taking place monthly and Susan is still providing a monthly theme to respond to for those who are interested.  Please contact for further details.


Submissions of poetry are open to all and are not confined to the suggested theme. We would be delighted if you would like to share your poetry with us. A new selection of poetry will be posted at the end of June.  

Please submit to

75th Anniversary of VE Day  8th May 2020

 by Jean Scott-Smith


To celebrate VE Day seventy-five was the plan

And we'd gather together in one big Shap clan

There'd be tea in the hall, and we'd dance and sing

 Dance music would play and the church bells ring

We'd keep silence and toast the Heroes at three                                             

And we'd all give thanks that our nation is free.


The Home Schooling the topic is World War Two

The question being asked  'what did your family do?'

Albums and boxes of photos, bits and bobs from a tin

Told how our ancestors fought so Europe could win

War Hero great, great, Grandad donned khaki again  *

His son,  Stanley, joined the RAF but did not fly a plane.


Great Grandma Josie, she worked hard on the land

Great Grandad John patrolled with Shap's ARP band

These pictures of them all in the war are like gold

And their medals and badges to look at and hold

Tom wears the ARP badge and medal over his heart

To proudly show how our family all played their part.


It's VE Day on the eighth day of May

But we're all told we must stay away

The birds sing loudly in the trees

And bunting flutters in the breeze

We all dress in red, white and blue

That is surely the right thing to do


The music of Vera and Glenn is played

Along the wall top afternoon tea is laid

We keep silence for those who set us free

And still raise a glass to the heroes at three

We sit in the garden and tap our feet

We wave to the folks across the street


The sun shines down on a lovely sight

The lockdown rules are the only blight

We watch the Queen - long may she reign

And then all sing together 'We'll meet Again'

A photographer comes and takes a snap

To record how we marked VE Day in Shap



* Company Sergeant Major Robert Scott-Smith DCM, a veteran

of World War One donned uniform again to do his bit.


Stanley Scott-Smith served in the RAF and remained in the

service into the mid 1950s.


Josephine Howe (later Johnson) worked on Lowther Estate

in the productive gardens.


John Johnson joined Shap ARP cycling from Wet Sleddale

each evening to do his patrol.

Bird Song

by Jean Scott-Smith


Did ye ivver get up i' a mornin'  et five

Aboot back end o' May er i' June

Ther's music a main just when it's leet

When aw oor burds er i' tune


Heste hard a lark sing atween fower and five?

Er a throstle a bit efter three?

Ah've got up o purpose, Aye, many a time

There's nowt beats sek music te me.


T' la'al urchin et grunts an' hen gi' a cluck

An' t' hullet still hessen't gan yam

An lambs oot i' garth agen t' plantin' side

Er bleating fer milk frae ther' mam


Thoo can tak aw yer concerts wharivver the' er

Ah sud tire o' them aw varra soon

There's far grander music, just when its leet

Aboot back end o' May er i' June.


Glossary provided for those who aren’t so familiar with Cumbrian dialect.

ivver – ever                                            burds- birds                                           heste-have you

atween – between                                fower – four                                           throstle - thrush

nowt – nothing                                     sek – such                                              urchin - hedgehog

hullet – owl                                            yam – home                                           plantin - planting (copse)

wharivver - wherever

A Walk through Naddle Woods May 2017

by Janet Wood


One balmy May day a four-year old followed Grandad

Along the shaded path, alive with greens of new growth,

Beech, oak, ferns, vibrant in the dappled light,

The still air steeped with the scent of bluebells.

Alongside jenny wren flitted about the moss-covered stones.

Halting by the little wooden gate they stood looking and listening,

Hazel staff pointing high towards

the rat-tat-tat, rat-tat-tat, drilling of beak on wood,

Then, across the valley, sounded the cuckoo’s call -

A special moment in time to share.

The following poems were written by Peter Dicken

Where are the scents of  Spring?   11.04.20

Where are the scents of spring?

The diesel and the exhaust fumes

The cloy of the crowds.

The rumble of rubber on the roads

The squish of migrating toads

On tarmac.

Oh, where are the scents of spring?


Where are the scents of spring?

The air filled with aerosols of

Too much anti-perspirant,

Frying fat and restaurants

Of chip wrappers vying for space on the streets with

Pizza boxes, greasy with oil..

Oh where are the scents of spring?


Where are the scents of spring?

Buried beneath a blanket of box

Overcome by the musk of hawthorn

Drowned in the heady reek of elder.

Oh where, oh where are the scents of spring?


“Easter Monday morning - I walked up the tracks through the fields to a gantry bridge over the M6.

There was very little traffic and for a few brief moments there was no traffic visible at all, in either direction.”


The sound of silence, no

Rubber on road, no

Rumble and roar, merely,

Warbling curlews, pleading

Oyster-catchers and occasionally a

Mewling Buzzard.



Peter often writes his observations as Haikus. 

A Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry with just three lines, 5, 7 and 5 syllables.


Sunday morning, 6am, 19.04.2020


Snow slides slowly from

Sleep-silent fells, bleeds into

Thirsty, browning, land.


Pink and crimson clouds,

Bleed away into cool sky.

Fells blush with dawn sun.


Sunday morning, bread

Bulks and bakes in breathy blooms

Aromatic musk.



Velvet golden fell,

A jerkin over skirts of

Greening in-bye fields.



Pewter fells golden

From probing frozen fingers

Of the rising sun.



Cold clear beck mint beds,

Bright marsh marigolds, May’s witch-bane.

A single bluebell chimes.

Hawthorn Blossom  31.05.20


Heavy froths of May

Weighing down the hawthorn boughs.

Sweet heavy meringues.



Drunk with bridal musk of may,

Her gown a sugar froth creation of

Sweet coy delights.


Concrete Road on a Cold May Morning 

13.05 20


Rooks banter, tree-bound.

Curlew, lapwing, moor nested

Warble and plaintive bleat. 



Fleeing mossy nest,

Skylark, living shuttlecock,

Rockets from the racket.

Bluebells  18.05.20

Lapis Lazuli

Bluebells in an English wood.

Breathtaking beauty.

Verses for Virus

by Victoria Stevenson

Awash with sunlight and birdsong

Gold headed daffodils trumpet                      

the spring.

Cats wander the lanes and byways

In search of prey.

We wander our houses, in search

of recreation or sanity.

Out in the world, the virus seeks

And we are the prey....

Cumbria’s rural idyll appears immune.

We have this false sense all is well.

Lambs bounce in the fields, songbirds

herald the spring.

Then our valiant postie

 in his red van, appears over the hill.

False Prophets

by Sue Millard

(written March 2008, included in her 2012 pamphlet Ash Tree)

Don’t believe the blackbird.

He’s precocious, starts to sing

false golden trails of promises

of love and nests and hatching

in New Year’s twilight.


Never mind old cock-robin.

North wind or snow, his shout

and his puffed bright chest

are war, not love; “get the hell out,

I’ll keep my garden.”


Don’t trust the bald-faced rook.

Shaking wings, he croaks pretence

of song, but he’s a fraud

with his blueblack iridescence;

postures, but won’t build.


But let the truth-teller sing

his moorish music; haunted flute

blown here on the southern gales.

The sober bird in the tweed suit,

the curlew is spring.

Darkfall CV-19  

by Sue Millard

(written March 2020, included in her 2020 pamphlet Galloway Gate)

Dusk drifts smoke-blue from the east.

Sheep nipnipnip at the frosting grass

(eat, eat before night). A distant dog

barks the same rhythm, with no message.


We have met no-one since dawn.

No bikers from the Devil's Bridge,

no walkers queueing for the mountains,

no chatty neighbours bringing eggs,


and for this we are thankful.

Only one con-trail, pink, in the west

draws a line at the end of the day.

The blackbird whistles the trees to bed.

The air is clear of everything but rooks

whose funeral wings wipe the sky clean.

©2019 Shap Community CIO. Registered Charity No 1160966