In February 2021, locked-down and frustrated, I undertook a daily walk to photograph and write about one fixed place, a bench facing onto the Campsie Fells. Each cold day the pup and I tramped away from the house, and I recorded 28 short ‘noticings’ to document the bench, the landscape, my emotions. These became bench II marks. I decided to make the poems public while remaining anonymous and placed them in a biscuit tin on the bench, provided spare paper and pens, hand gel and sweeties and an invitation to other walkers to engage and write their own responses. Unexpectedly, I received 32 messages back from walkers, young and old– generous, full of humour and gratitude for a chance to sit on the bench, munch a sweetie and think a little about – well, think about whatever. It felt like real connection, via poetry, with my local community.
Lynnda Wardle is a Scottish-South African writer interested in how we make sense of our identities in the places we come to call home. Her own experiences of family, adoption and immigration are the material she draws on when telling stories about identity and belonging.
She is currently studying for an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, writing about Scottish emigrants to the Eastern Cape in the 1820s.