DPVP does NaPoWriMo – The Horny Tree by Krys

The Horny Tree

I saw a tree with yellow horns growing from its roots
I said to the tree “I need to know but pray you tell the truth
Are they real or are they fake? I need to know you see
Coz for my work I must produce the horns of an oak tree”
“Well my friend I’m sad to say you really can’t have mine”
“Why?” said I “I need them so!”
“But sir I am a pine.”


DPVP does NaPoWriMo – More from our support group…


I like to make big crusted pies
I bake them from your truth and lies
I bake them blind, so I can’t see the contents neath the crust.

What will you find, sweetness or dust?
Or a little of both, lines intermingled
Beneath the crust which is a little bit crinkled.

Contributed to by Alex, Jenny, Stefanie, Marie & Debi

Spoons And Shovels! Introducing Lisa – Our new Gardening Blogger!


The PF Disabilities Team is very excited to announce that we will be having a (hopefully) regular blog series about gardening with disabilities! Spoons and Shovels will be brought to you by Lisa and here she is to introduce herself!

I’m Lisa, and I live in Wirral with my husband and two young children. I’m a professional gardener, who specialises in helping people with disabilities. I either help to adapt their gardens to suit them better, help to keep them gardening, or take care of their gardens exactly how they want them kept.
It feels a lot like I was steered into this path from when I first started gardening. I’ve had an interest in the therapeutic benefits of horticulture for a long time, since it has really helped me with my OCD and anxiety.  I struggled to leave the house alone except for going to work, and I found being in the garden gave me something to focus on while I was outside, but I was not far from ‘safety’ if it got too much.  I had to be responsible for the garden and it forced me out, maybe when I didn’t want to, and challenged me to take on my fears in a gentle way.  I started to build a connection with nature; noticing the birds that came to visit, finding new bulbs starting to sprout, watching what I had planted grow and flourish. It gave me confidence and I felt less and less threatened and alone outdoors, and it widened my world from our four walls.  I hope it has also given me an understanding of how important this connection is, and how devastating it can be to lose it, which is why I am so happy to have been given this opportunity to produce a blog for you all, and I hope you find it useful.
I got into professional gardening as a pretty big career change about 14 years ago.  I was having health problems working as a typist, so I decided to retrain and do something that would keep me mobile and that I actually enjoyed, and after being inspired by a visit to the Eden Project, it became obvious to me that this was what I wanted to do. I completed the RHS Level II and Advanced Certificates as home study courses, and I started volunteering in community gardens to get some invaluable experience, and the tutors at Ness Gardens even let me come in and practice for my practical exams as much as I wanted.
Since then I’ve worked in Birkenhead Park, garden centres and most recently, I worked at Mears providing specialist gardening help for elderly and disabled customers. I absolutely loved my job. I felt like I had made a real difference to people’s lives by improving their access and sense of security, and getting their environment working right for them.  I was sad to leave when I had our first baby, and now I will be setting up my own business providing these services when my youngest is old enough.
While I was studying, I was lucky enough to visit Chelsea. Thrive were exhibiting there, and I got chatting to the designer. The garden and the ideas they had to make it accessible really stuck with me, and I jumped at the chance to provide this kind of service for Mears. I stayed in touch with Thrive, and am currently taking courses in Horticultural Therapy with them now they provide online tuition.  I will be sure to pass on any new tips, tools and techniques I come across in my learning.
When I’m not gardening, I bake, so no doubt the odd recipe will be popping up as well for all those gluts of herbs, fruit and vegetables we’re going to have (the snails are not getting them this year!) I’m moving my veg garden since it’s too shady where it is, so I’ll show you from scratch what I get up to and how I get on. I am under orders from my family to grow pumpkins for Samhain (I do a mean pumpkin pie), and other than that, I’m going to maximise my tiny space by growing a Native American 3 Sisters bed. This is a plot of sweetcorn, with beans growing up them for support, and pumpkins trailing in the shade beneath. The plants each benefit one another, I like that kind of co-operation. I’m also going to attempt to build some kind of greenhouse for some tomatoes too.
I’ve been a Pagan for about 20 years, my husband introduced me to it and everything about Paganism just made sense. I love the tolerance, gentleness and understanding behind it.  We follow and celebrate the changing seasons, and being outdoors so much, you become so much more grounded and aware of the changing subtleties all around you.
Of all the seasons, it has to be Autumn that is my favourite. It’s a busy and very beautiful time for us. My back garden is really shady, so I studied Japanese Tea Gardens which make the best of these conditions.  I love ferns and Acers, lots of foliage and texture, and those blazing colours make you warm on a cold day. We use the garden to eat and play for as much of the year as we can, but I really love Samhain with the kids.  We’re metal, horror and dreadful old B-movie fans, so we go way over the top and have a mix of Halloween fun and Samhain reflection, and have a torchlight treasure hunt. We have a fire pit and barbeque night around bonfire night too. I light tealights in the trees and it’s really magical. We camp out in my she-shed, stuff our faces and watch the stars and the fireworks. It seems like the best send off to our time outside and prepares us for being cosy indoors over Winter. I’ve never been a part of Pagan group before, so sharing this with you all is an amazing experience for me.
I try to tread as lightly as I can and show respect for all living things, which to me means adapting and using what I have, not forcing things that aren’t going to work and recycling as much as possible. I am a closet Heath Robinson & love to create something out of what I have lying around. Having kids also means we don’t have a lot of money, but I still want a great garden, so I will do things as economically as possible and push myself all the time.
I don’t use pesticides or herbicides, I have sneaky tricks and home-made concoctions that I use that I’ll share with you. I’ll start with the absolute basics, and I will teach you the best way to do everything, which is what the RHS taught me, but there are many different methods to get decent results and we’ll look at what works best for you. I’ll try and cover the most important seasonal jobs in this year, so seed sowing for my first blog; then maybe fertilisers, composting, and weed, pest and disease control in the Summer; pruning and bulb planting in the Autumn; and garden planning and accessibility in the Winter. If there’s anything you need me to cover, please let me know and I’ll try to cover it in the future.  All I want is for you to be inspired to give gardening a try, even if it’s window box gardening, and hopefully get you out in the fresh air and feeling more a part of the life happening all around you. If you can’t garden on your own, I can’t recommend Thrive enough, they might be able to help get you involved in a community therapeutic garden in your area.
I think I’ve waffled enough for now, please be gentle, it’s the first time I’ve written anything like this and I really hope you like it and find it helpful.


Lisa is currently working with Batty Nan & Kitty to answer your gardening questions. To ask Nan & Kitty a question about gardening, accessibility or any other disability or Pagan related issues simply email dpvp@paganfederation.co.uk and start with Dear Nan (or similar)…

DPVP does NaPoWriMo – A Veteran’s Guide with Mabh Savage

NaPoWriMo: A Veteran’s Guide

Okay, ‘veteran’ is maybe a strong term, but I’ve completed it on time two years on the trot, completed it a touch late one year and totally cocked it up another year, so I would say I have a wide experience of what NaPoWriMo is like, from all angles! NaPoWriMo is the anachronym for National Poetry Writing Month, the little sibling of NaNoWriMo which is the same for novels, which occurs later in the year. NaNo’s challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month; daunting to most people. NaPo’s challenge is less about the word count and more about consistency and perseverance; the challenge is to write a poem every day. Every single day, and if you miss a day, then you do two poems the next day. And so forth. So why do we do this to ourselves?

Poetry is Fun

Many people think poetry is the height of pretension, playing with words to look clever, or to give voice to lofty, philosophical dreams. This need not be the case, although deep, philosophical poetry certainly has its place! If you’re thinking you wouldn’t have the necessary material to write decent poetry, think again. Some of my most popular poems have been about very un-deep subjects indeed. Some are downright silly.

I almost wish it were
A metaphor for death; decay!
Instead you’ll be surprised
To hear me say
That coming home to
Mouldy guacamole
Holy moley!
Is actually a measure
Of my happiness
My pleasure
Green and lumpy
Like it should be
Now it’s blue as well:
Oh hell!
But no drama
At this sight;
I shrug and in this moonlit night
In the bin I put the mess to bed
And have a lovely curry instead.

There is no deep meaning to this poem. I came home one night looking forward to finishing off my lovely homemade guacamole, probably with some crackers and what not, and it had developed a lovely little hat of pin-mould. Yes, I will literally write about anything. And you should too. Don’t fret and worry over feeling the perfect bit of inspiration. Anything that makes you smile, laugh, roll your eyes, grit your teeth; anything you feel something over can inspire a little bit of poetry.

Poetry has No Rules

It doesn’t have to rhyme, although it can. It doesn’t have to have perfect form, although if you want to follow iambic pentameter (five sets of two syllables per line, with the emphasis on every second syllable) rigorously, that’s OK too. Here’s an example of a rhyming poem that tries to follow the same or similar rhythm on each line.

Poorly him is poorly me

A thing I cannot bear to see

A furrowed brow; a sweaty neck

A temperature I have to check

A grumpy face, a growly voice

Sad with each and every choice

Wants a blanky; wants a nest

Wants to cuddle to my chest.

Wants some food then nothing’s nice

Not eggs or ice nor toast or rice

Nor sweets or beans nor jams or creams

Not cocoa pops or ham, it seems.

So pillows, sheets and arms it is

Exhausted both; but friends in bliss

As poorly him hugs poorly me;

We rest: the best that we can be.


The rhymes lend emphasis and give the poem a sing-song quality that matches the subject, my little (then) four-year-old boy needing his mummy. In contrast, here’s a poem that has no reasonable rhyming scheme or structure.

Take a pinch of ecstatic ether

Breathe into lover’s eyes

Stretch silk over frame

Of sweat and sinew.

Remove stars from the sky

Place in own eyes

Blink three times

There’s no place like home

And there you are.


Sometimes the way the words weave together is enough. It doesn’t need to be pruned and prodded into a particular structure.


Pro tip: If you are unsure how your poem will read, try reading it out loud. If you find that it sounds a bit disjointed, try changing some of the emphasis onto different words, or getting your editing pen out. When we read a poem on the page, we always hear a voice in our head speaking it to us. If it sounds great read out loud, the chances are it will sound great in someone’s head.


Poetry is Great to Share


One of the most fantastic things I’ve found about NaPoWriMo is how many friends I’ve made dong it! From the comfort of my own sofa, which is exceedingly handy when I’m not able to get out and about, I have shared my poems through my own website and Facebook, including dedicated groups for NaPoWriMo poets. I also get to read everyone else’s poems, and comment on the ones I like best. And sometimes, I get lovely comments about my poems, which makes it all worthwhile! When someone tells you a poem you wrote made them smile; that, to me, is one of the best feelings ever. The other great thing about these groups is they encourage you to keep going. When you feel like your muse has slammed the door on the way out of the building; when you’re tired, anxious ,down, doubting yourself; when you’re thinking it all seems a bit impossible; go and have a read of other people’s work, see how they’re managing, and talk to them to find out what keeps them ticking along. And remember, it’s all for fun!


Good luck to everyone participating in NaPoWriMo this year. Here are some fantastic links and resources that I use every year. I look forward to reading everybody’s poems!


The Official Site: http://www.napowrimo.net/

They are already blogging about this year’s event, and during the month of April you’ll find prompts to inspire you, hints, tips and poems from this year’s participants. There’s also a place to share your website, should you want to.


The Official Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/napowrimo

An easier place to share your poems if you don’t have a dedicated website. More prompts on here, and usually a dedicated post each day to share your own poems and read the other poets’ work.


NaPoWriMo Sharing Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/357732567604333/?ref=br_rs

A nice, friendly group for sharing poems. I’ve found some lovely people here.


The Poetry School: https://poetryschool.com/theblog/napowrimo-2017/

These are last year’s prompts, and I’d be very surprised if they don’t put some new ones up this year.


My Site: https://soundsoftime.wordpress.com/

My daily poems will appear here, mostly on a theme of spring this year, although who knows when I’ll be inspired by something gross in my fridge!

DPVP does NaPoWriMo – More from our support group…

A poem doesn’t have to be long, doesn’t have to tell a huge, convoluted story… Sometimes, a poem is simple, to the point and just… A little poem. 🙂

I Had A Little Tree

I had a little tree
It grew strong and tall
So tall, in fact, it knocked over my garden wall!
It grew so tall that I could not see
Anything that wasn’t tree.

By Debi, Lisa Ann, Marie & Alex

DPVP does NaPoWriMo – And now for something completely different…

This week we invited the members of the PF disabilities support group to help us write some poetry by each person writing a line each… We’ll let you decide how successful we were with this first one! 😉

There was once a little old witch
Whose spells could make you sneeze or itch
Her cauldron was rusty
Her spell books were dusty
Her potions she threw in a ditch

Contributed to by Jen, Alex, Jon, Marie and Annette.

DPVP does NaPoWriMo – The Dark Call Home by Thea

The Dark Call Home


I am of a hill tribe, overlooking the sea
Fierce, warlike, steadfast and wise.

I am of a warrior race, where women fought together with men
Equal in all things.

I am of an independent people, uncowed by weather
Proud of our resilience, astuteness and cunning.

Our  vistas are huge
Our  mountains high
Our  seas deep
and our dark moors are ridden by Calleach and not by the maiden.

These are harsh lands, essential to our survival
These are wild lands, haunted and hunted by freedom
But these are our lands,
scattered with kinship and niedfire.

This is home.


DPVP does NaPoWriMo – Reach Out by Krys

Reach Out

‘Reach out’ they say
Like it’s an easy thing to do
But I might as well climb a mountain
When it’s only a hill to you

Who’d want to know this ship wreck
This mess upon the floor
I have no strength for fighting
I can’t even open the door

I am the party pooper
I’m the rain on everyone’s parade
Why inflict myself on others
When I can’t play the charade

‘It’s just attention seeking nonsense’
That’s what I fear they’ll say
And so I keep it to myself
Until it goes away

Yes there’s days I’m happy
Times when I’ll join in
But now is not one of those
So I’ll hide and draw within


DPVP does NaPoWriMo – I Don’t Write Poems by Debi

I Don’t Write Poems

I don’t write poems
I find it really hard
I used to write them all the time
But not any more.

I don’t write poems
It’s too much emotion for me
I don’t want to dig deep enough
To write the poetry I used to.

I don’t write poems
I like to make them rhyme
And writing well enough to rhyme
Feels like too much braining right now.

I don’t write poems
I have no poetry in me
I used to be verbose and witty
Now my writing’s really shitty.

I don’t write poems
Hey, I managed a rhyme
This is first poem i’ve written for years
Wow, it’s crap.