Writer in the Forest, Zakiya Mckenzie

Notebook and pen on green grass

Writer in the Forest by Zakiya Mckenzie

A poem for our centenary project writers in the forest.

Writing in the forest is affirming.
It owes me nothing and didn’t ask me to say these things
but I come with green greetings
This world is for us all, and I must love the spaces I am in
As if my life’s purpose would have lagged and melted to nought
I must go where I can love and am loved there
Into the thicket, transplant me anywhere
The spinning globe around, I have been, and this is how I want to be
The forest is the place, among birch and beam
This land that I own as every part of myself
Yet know I have no ultimate claim to contend
When it wants, it reclaims exactly what it wants
And whether one is into a god, gods or none at all
Mother Nature is constant, in all ways it sustains
It thrashes us too, we complain
Still, the imposition is me and you
It is we who cut back and we who choose
to curb the realness of this place
When this kind of wildness is lost
Uncertainty is what we face

Read more

Hand holding bunch of leaves
Dulwich in London is where I came into this world. This I do not recall but have made up memories in my head from the pictures I have seen.
Looking up
There are only three tree-climbers in Forestry England. They scale the tallest of trees, grooming and look after them. The tree-climbers know all the trees at Westonbirt Arbouretum personally. Fascinating!
Silhouette of forest at pink sunset
In the Dean, to have had your first amourous experience in the forest was to get your ‘fern ticket’