Walk to Wardour Castle Lake with Stevie Smith by Helen Whitten

Helen Whitten is a writer and prize-winning poet. She is winner of the Elmbridge Literary Festival Adult Poetry Prize 2014 and the Winchester Writers’ Festival 2013 Poetry Prize. Her poem ‘Fantasy Life’ was Highly Commended in the Elmbridge Literary Festival 2016 and her poem ‘Moonfleet’ was Highly Commended in the Winchester Writers’ Festival 2014. Her first collection of poetry, The Alchemist’s Box was published by Morgan’s Eye Press in 2015. Helen has had her work published in a broad range of journals and anthologies, including Orbis, Acumen, Loose Muse, South Bank Poetry, Poetry in the Afternoon, and the Winchester Writers’ Festival Almanac.

Visit: her poetry website www.babyboomerpoetry.com

Helen’s YouTube poetry channel

Thinking Aloud blog



Walk to Wardour Castle Lake with Stevie Smith


The poet closed her book

and led us Brodie-girls

in tense excitement

at incitement

to walk out of school gates

to break the rules

and dive into the dark.

The castle ruin emerged ahead of us,

silhouetted like an ancient shipwreck

against the night sky,

the watery moon hidden

by deep waves of black clouds

created a menacing half-light,

as if seeing sunlight

from the depths of murky reeds

on beds of muddy waters.

We strode the Wiltshire turf

not waving, not drowning,

lost in the mists of the glass lake:

our youth a curtain

damming out the poet’s pain,

no thought of death,

the gentle friend.



Helen Whitten