After the 1987 Hurricane

I visited the New Forest in the Spring of 1988 after the hurricane of 1987 many are remembering today.

I wrote this following the visit and over the years kept amending until  it became this particular version:

A Walk In The New Forest in 1988 After A Hurricane

Not overly wild and not yet fully tamed like an arboretum,
she is a sanctuary fenced off to preserve at least one of each species.
Under foot she provides a mossy padded carpet for barefoot walking and bedless lying down.

A Western Hemlock from Western Canada droops a canopy of caped graceful velvet, thick and lush in its thick stage.
Further in, dense needleless branches form labyrinthine spiders’ webs of never-ending corridors, ever-growing darker in their shadows.
The corridors are guarded by a perimeter of roll upon roll of giant Blackpool-like rock-stick: Beech wood piled up on top of log upon log of wind-torn evergreen.

Above, the spiked porcupine trunks tip over like inverted umbrellas tossed by the momentum of the breathy wind.
Below, the uprooted mounds bleed flesh-torn roots decapitated below the belt.

Then, chance upon a bomb crater, a memorial of a once upon a time more devastating hurricane.
Female Rhododendron makes a leafy cloak of closely guarded secret cover-up:
Mummy’s mopping up of daddy’s penetrating bomb;
A stagnant pool womb breeding new life in the murky stillness.

Further on, a Sitka Spruce is proudly labelled in matching green metal with White Man’s numbers: “Used to build Mosquito Aircraft” is the proud explanaton
“because it is so light and strong” the marker continues.

Tree of earth becomes tree of sky then, destined downward
gravity bound,
gravely pulled down
and up-ripped again in wind only to be
down-axed on a guillotine.
Aircraft and bomb, tree and wind both make for devastation and rebirth if you believe in cathedrals.

One hundred thousand seeds are transported in a wooden boat across a watery sky
forever going Westwards
to raise up in the Motherland the tent pegs of that man whom some have called red
when both colour and time were simpler.
No Hiawatha treads this padded pathway
only trainer footed urban creature playing stick cricket with coned balls and rabbit turds.
Who can grow the tallest tree?

The competitors line up in their starting frames:

Temptress Honeysuckle drapes and entwines herself around the bark of one unknowing competitor.
“Like an appletree among the trees of the forest is my lover among the young men.
I am the honeysuckle and my lover is the apple tree,” the holy lover whispers trying to put him off or on depending on how you look at young love.

Older suckers Ivy and Oak are bound up in parasitical suckers each blaming the other for the throttling choke of so much time together
“I will tie my yellow ribbon and I will go to the ball,” they croak together battle weary from last night’s storm.

So, forest not so new,
Where old habits have died a hard death and younger ones not belonging here fail to root when we want it our way.

All of this defies organised planting.

I know, keep the arboretum for the city dwellers, like zoos and museums.
Can a forest be cultivated, should it be curated or should it just be
I mean, just let it be.
“ Roll up come and rock your baby in out tree top and see if it will fall down or stay up!”

Oh shit! the bough broke, the baby came down and like an unpredictable filled nappy made a mess all over the place and now we have to clear up and it will cost more than money, I can tell you that much.


Copyright Carran Waterfield 1988.

Signpost 3: Audience/Participant responses to The House

Journey through ‘The House – researching theatre, performance and poverty’ (Studies in Theatre and Performance Special Issue Vol 31:1)

Signpost 3: Audience Responses to The House

‘The House’ didn’t do the usual touring route so no Guardian review for this one or any other newspaper review as a matter of fact. We chose a different way and invited essays or short responses to the piece which seemed to be more productive, considered and helpful.  The writers came from different fields which added to the rich mix in the response.  It allowed for some real creativity in the responses because there were no rules here.  There was some extensive feedback from post show questionnaires to which Jenny Hughes and Caitlin Gleeson formed into an interesting forward to this section of the research document.  Other contributors here include: Janet Batsleer, Anuradha Kapur, Bobby Smith, Louise Wallwein, Janice B. Wilson, Sandra Reeve and Maggie B. Gale.  Some of these people are familiar with my performance work but most are not, so it was a good mix.  I am very grateful for the feedback.

I promised Mrs May I would reply to her letter and post it on my blog

Dear Mrs May
Thank you for your letter dated…when did you write it? It didn’t have a date.

Well you have caught me at the right time because today, as a self employed theatre maker, teacher with experience of zero hours contracts, semi-retired-didn’t-get-my-pension..(er), it is my writing day. Lucky me!

A few words in response:

Mrs May, it is not usual for me to get involved in this kind of activity – elections and letters like this. It is quite out of the ordinary for an ordinary person like me to write something like this. You see, the foundations on which you stand are shaking already because so many ordinary people, like me are now getting involved. You are worried and you need to be. Yes, you’ve worked it out. You have to do something personal to get a response from ordinary people. Well Mrs May, the letter may have used my name and spelled it correctly many times but I don’t believe it is sincere. I don’t trust you with decision-making that will affect the rest of my life and the lives of my loved ones.

Your party caused Brexit (the main focus of your letter) so you should be worried about this in your effort to get me to vote for you in Southport. Are you wavering in your confidence? If you are doing this to every citizen with a candidate in a shaky seat I expect we will have to have extra bin collections. You’re lucky to have all that paper and envelopes and the money to pay the postman as well. You do know you haven’t won in Southport for a while and your ex collaborators from the days of your own chaotic coalition are on very shaky ground too.

I notice you don’t say that if (we) get it wrong it will be felt by all the rich and well off people like yourself…only ordinary people like me. You don’t know me, or do you? I am one of those who lost 30K in the pension changes and I am trying hard to find ways of making that up. Please don’t use a ‘royal we’ with me. If negotiations go wrong and you lead, it will be you who will be called to account. You are 11 days older than me Mrs May and we are poles apart.

Whatever the outcome of Brexit, if you are in charge I know for sure you will make it okay for people like yourself and those who pave your way. You have called an election because you are worried and you want a mandate so you can blame us all when the negotiations get tough. Well Mrs May, I welcome the hope and clear choice I now have.

The thing is a personal touch needs a sense of integrity and honesty. I think that the genuine, secure and steadfast leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party promises something I have never before known in my lifetime and that process will only ask you, one of the few, to pay just a little bit more to make things more bearable for the many. You have read the Labour Party Manifesto, no doubt. It’s just not good enough to talk only about Brexit. There’s more at stake than that and your personal letter to me will not do the trick.

Yours sincerely

Carran Waterfield

PS Because I don’t want to waste a stamp I hope you will pick this up somewhere along the line on Facebook now you are using social media a bit more. I will also post it on my Blog because they read that in China.

PPS. By the way, how did you feel about your 30K pension loss?

Gorse Actually In Beauty


I have just come back from Charmouth from the Trees and Water workshop with Sandra Reeve.  It inspired much moving and writing but also these gorgeous pics