Last night we finished up the first part of our Tropical Ravine writing project (Writing the Ravine), with a beautiful candlelit celebration in the Palm Houses at Botanic Gardens. Lots of the participants from the five community writing workshops which took place back in spring joined us at the gates of Botanic Gardens for a lantern parade through the park. Then, we gathered in the Palm Houses, right in the middle of the exotic plants, for a really magical reading of the stories and poems written by these participants. It was such a special wee evening and Cailin Lynn -Tropical Ravine outreach officer- deserves enormous amounts of credit for turning the Palm House into a truly magical space and making everyone feel so welcome. During the project poet Emma Must and I had the privilege of facilitating writing workshops with various groups who had memories of the Tropical Ravine and gardens. The majority of these participants had little or no experience with creative writing and so we were incredibly proud to hear many of them stand up and read their wonderful pieces last night. Here are a few photos from what turned out to be one of the most memorable readings I’ve ever been part of and a fabulous piece co-written by the members of the Skyways Club.
In the Botanic Gardens
we can smell nice, flowery smells
all mixed up with bad, river smells
and the burnt rubber smell of cars
coming up from the Embankment.
The smell of pollen, cut grass and manure
which you can also smell in the country.
Lovely, sugary smells from the ice cream van:
strawberry, vanilla, chocolate chip.
The students on the lawn
who are meant to be studying
and instead, smell of drink.