Ashdown Forest to Oakhill – Ruth Gilchrist

I love the birth of an autumn day

Ruth Gilchrist is an award-winning poet who has lived in many beautiful places, but it was becoming a parent that made her write. Too tired to sleep poetry was the only voice she could find in the dark. Fortunately, as her children have grown so has her writing success, now it’s the poetry that keeps her awake. Ruth writes on a variety of subjects and experiments with different poetry forms. Her joint pamphlet “The Weather Looks Promising” is published by Black Agnes Press.

Ashdown forest to Oakhill

I love the birth of an autumn day that kicks dew from your heels and plants gossamer webs on your face. The only time my fingers welcome the cold is when scooped beneath a field mushroom to pluck it with its damp umbilical. I tell the boys;“note in your mind this spot, there will be more here tomorrow.” But their thoughts are fireworks and their hunt will be just as wide every day they are here in Oakhill. I know they will come every morning, not just for the novelty of the velvet nosed foal eating my jumper, but because they cannot believe the flavour. I think there is something about the oak tree, that you taste in a field mushroom that they will never forget.

I remember my first taste, my sister and I gathered them in Ashdown forest. There wild mushrooms mine rich tones from the earth beneath the autumn leaves. There was a youth there I tasted too. He was fresh cologned with saddle soap, hands calloused from the reigns. Lips the flavour of rosehip, hawthorn, plum and elderberry. That season I was painted; all the fiery colours of autumn.

Ruth Gilchrist

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s