Lost Gardeners, a poem by John Anstie; spotlight on the Lost Gardens of Heligan

Northern Summerhouse garden at the Lost Gardens of Heligan courtesy of Heinz-Dirk Luckhardt CC BY-SA 3.0

“This intoxicating mixture of history and place was powerful enough to compel me to write this in their memory.” John Anstie



There was such colour and bustle
where now reflective calm.

In the thunderbox room
nearby the melon yard
haunting echoes of silent voices

once green fingers that pressed
a trigger for King and country
gently call from an early grave,
who once scattered humus here.

They shed tears for weeds
that stained the fresh leaves
of Spring, unfolding, unseen

cold frames of mouth-blown glass,
warmed the summer fare
that meant so much to those
who dug one last trench

so many lost at such a cost
shovelling cold organic mud
to sow the seeds of future green
in very unmilitary drills

and who would say what
could have been had peace
been thoughtfully nurtured
like the fruits of this place.

Inundated by nature’s mission
their names forever bleeding
from these crumbling walls

so few in the flesh of then
left much in the earth of now.

Originally published on The BeZine blog. John is a member of the Zine core team.

© 2019 John Anstie

A visit to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall, in the United Kingdom, revealed to me a very poignant story of its gardeners, 16 out of 22 of whom lost their lives in the First World War; of the gardens, which subsequently fell into ruin until the 1990’s when a descendant of the original owners set about restoring them to become one of the UK’s most popular botanical gardens. The scene is set around the ‘thunderbox’ room where they would carve the names in the walls as they sat and the very peaceful garden adjacent to it, where you can feel the history of this particular part of the gardens, which had almost completely succumbed to nature’s will. This intoxicating mixture of history and place was powerful enough to compel me to write this in their memory. / John Anstie



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Warrior Woman, a poem by Clarissa Simmens

Hervor, Shieldmaiden by Peter Nicolai Arbo (1831-1892) / Public Domain illustration

“The most famous type of mortal warrior woman known from the sagas is the shieldmaiden, who is mirrored in the spiritual realm of the afterlife by the Valkyries. The shieldmaiden was allegedly a woman who took up arms and armor and fought in battle alongside men.” Ten Legendary Female Viking Warriors, Ancient History Encyclopedia



Your pain was not in vain
Found buried with a horse, spear
Shield, battle axe and arrows
Proof that women could overcome fear
Fiercely loving and defending
Family and friends.
Over the centuries
Women have been leashed and silenced
Corseted, drugged, beaten, ignored
Treated like family pets
Teetering on stiletto heels
Emotions wrapped in woman-made steel.
But you, you did what must be done
Yes, silenced too young
But I look at you and know
Women were not made to only
Cook and sew
We are strong and brave
Created to carry life and
Therefore to save
All we love and care for.
And I say to you
Warrior Woman
Role model
Excavated from a farm
Your pain was not in vain…

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens (ViataMaja)

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CLARISSA SIMMENS (Poeturja) is an independent poet; Romani drabarni (herbalist/advisor); ukulele and guitar player; wannabe song writer; and music addict. Favorite music genres include Classic Rock, Folk, Romani (Gypsy), and Cajun with an emphasis on guitar and violin music mainly in a Minor key. Find her onAmazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE.

Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.



Jamie Dedes. I’m a freelance writer, poet, content editor, and blogger. I also manage The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights and encourages activist poetry.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

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Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, How 100,000 Poets Are Fostering Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton