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Snap Notts: The Arboretum

4 November 18 words: LP Mills
photos: Francois Lamar
This month's latest installment of Snap Notts - the series where photographers and poets are paired up and sent to an area to get inspired... 

The Soldier, Suspended

Shell-shocked blast of red,

Gold and green shrapnel falling;

See the soldier run.

The Last of the East Midlands Rowers

On a bed of wet leaves, the last of the

East Midland Rowers

abandons his boat.

Black muck and rust

                – who knew plastic could rust? –

coat the cuttlebone vessel, a thick mesh of memories

clinging to it from the places it has seen.

Once, he’d taken it – brilliant orange and buoyant –

up the grey, churn-watered

Trent, and its sleek bow

cut the river something


From there they’d gone east,

paddle to wave and pushing on,

down the estuary canals where

saltwater gifts illicit kisses to

river weeds under

Skegness skies.

Now, though, it sits, damp and lone,

narrow orange lifeline tangled as a

schoolgirl’s braid,

in shallow puddles and fallen leaves.

There is no resentment, though, for boats are not given to

dark moods.

For in its hollow cavity heart, it knows

that no dried-up riverbed, no landlocked city lake,

can rob it of

all it has seen.


The Party One Hundred and Sixty Six Years in the Making

The trees come to life in twilight,

swaying against the late summer

sky in a warehouse rave of

acid yellows,

      day-glo oranges,

                and the electric blues.

What little green is left hugs to the

Arboretum floor, sipping up

spilled drinks from uneven puddles,

and the tarmac path that splits the scene

leads from




Trees live long lives, you know, and to them




to a psychedelic crawl, the passing waves of

people, parties, picnics

little more than the after-trail of a

centuries-long trip.

This is it, the magnum oak tree,

the pine de resistance:

the bar is open, drinks are two for one, and

I just saw a sparrow drop an acid tab in an illuminated


And tomorrow morning, when the wind blows,

you may hear a hangover-groan as they




but right now the park is alive and amidst the

purple-drank haze of twilight,

I am too.

Chinese Bell

Never one for yelling, the bell is silent now.

Despite a dragon-scale flank, the

pride of an empire and its four-cornered and

silent protectorate,

there is no flash of cannonball flame here.

“Make peace, be kind” these beasts of war have

scrawled upon their hide in day-glo chalk,

a chimeric clash of cultures marooned in a place with no

love for combat.

See, instead of slaying we prefer to

chase our dragons,

opiate the masses and capture their cannons, and

when the world cries out in admonishment we can roar,

with imperial pride,

“This is heritage, this is history.”

Never one for yelling, the bell is silent now.

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