Lunes From The Dales

I love the dales – the cushiony green fields, the plumptious ripening lambkins, the sudden catastrophic downpours…

Barnard Castle for my third tour date, at the wonderful Witham. The team there have been massively helpful in getting me coverage in the local press, but we all knew spoken word would be a tough sell for an arts centre only just beginning to experiment with their programming. So yes, the audience wasn’t the largest, but feedback was good – and I quote

It was wondrous. Crafted and performed in a way that turned spoken word into gorgeous, spellbinding music”

“You transported me to a whole other world, Kirsten, and it was an enormous treat. Thank you so much for painting such a moving, vivid and thought-provoking picture. Really enjoyed the writing workshop too.”

Ah yes, the workshop! That was so mint you could have made sauce out of it. (Thinking of lamb again). We did some pretty erasures, and then wrote some 5-7-5 lunes about places we have travelled that have left vivid impressions …

ImageOystercatchers Calling Over Bamburgh Beach by Susie

Pinging off feathers in flight

Like the hard-edged kernel of popcorn

Being echoed in the ear

Berlin Puppet Theatre by Brighid

Jagged voice sawing through bone

A fur-shroud clogging pores of skin

Dark blue double bass belly

Tuscan Village by Glynnis

Church in front, church behind

No alarm clocks needed, as yelling bells

Clatter like tin bin lids

Lunes are lovely short poems that can capture a single moment in much the same way as a haiku, or can be linked together to form longer poems. Just to be fair, here’s an example of a linked 3-5-3 lune sequence I wrote recently, also attempting to capture a sense of both place and mental state.

Yesterday’s Lune

Cut grass scent

Rising from hidden municipal lawns,

Violins tuning high


Over the chuntering

Bonnets of black Hackney cabs,

Pungent, gridlocked timpani.


Cantilevered streets flourish

Rowans from their top hats,

Rapid drumroll berries


Splatter hot pavements.

Tantrum black sky bassooning

Over Kings Cross.


Footfall, rainfall, freefall.

The head behind your head

Recalls days like


This day, this

Open stringed cacophony, same, same

Old orchestra pit.



About Kirsten Luckins

Poet and performer. North East Programme Co-ordinator for Apples and Snakes. First collection, The Trouble With Compassion, launched March 2016 and available from Burning Eye Books. First solo show, The Moon Cannot Be Stolen, voted second in Saboteur Awards 2014. Second show currently under construction. Poet-in-Residence at the Heroism & Heartbreak project, Hartlepool Community Archive, looking at WW1 maritime stories.
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