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20 March 2023

Posted by Tabby Hayward

MOSS - A Workshop

In this week’s workshop, by popular demand, we were looking at moss! We began by playing ‘ which moss are you today’, hearing from the group about whether they were Glittering Wood Moss or more Silky Forklet, Electrified Cat’s Tail Moss, or Spagnum!

Next, the writers were challenged to find three interesting facts about moss (we heard how ancient it is, how it exists on every continent, how many species, how it can be used as an antiseptic and for insulation…) and also three interesting words or phrases to describe it.

Then we did two free writing exercises – the first just sparked by either a fact or a word or a name for moss we had found, and the second then writing as a love letter to moss. 

Finally, we looked at three moss poems – Moss Gathering by Theodore Roethke, Moss by Bruce Guernsey and Moss by Robert B Shaw – discussing what we liked and found interesting about these very different approaches to moss, before using them as inspiration to develop the free writing and complete a final poem!

Below are some of the excellent writings that came from our session:


Moss – by Tara 

Pre-historic, long standing and stable

The land floss

that has no roots

Just thin rhizoids

Like the hair line fracture 

The wisps that turned me into soup

They absorb what’s in the air

So, can be used to testify to pollution

As a body can testify

Accused of wallowing in its 

own delusions 

Sucking up the air’s atmosphere

Not nourishment from the soul

You inhale what’s there, so you comply

I wish the flood could be released from me

The tension, that holds it all inside 

Meaning that moss blades can look small

Thoughts are expansive 

and they seem to never go dry

The capillaries take in substances of 

pollution, of chaos

A dread that they hold tight

And yet, moss is used in the Arctic 

to prevent cold weather reaching the ground

You are the blanket for them

that doesn’t seem right 

An ever-loving cloud

Foot stampede on mounds

Love draining in codependence or 

the green space at the end, instead of gold?

Your mossy power is sacred.

I see you as a work of art. 

Eco-graffiti created to celebrate you 

Your world view is admirable 

It’s how grass stains hit my heart

I could definitely buy myself flowers

But, what I wouldn’t do is pick and steal you

You were special and I waited for growing 


You spouted out your beautiful truths

Your words became sweet nothings 

As you became my antiseptic 

and I became your roots

I’m cynical about love, yes

But, you broke me down

How could you not be magic

Santa on speed dial as you’re friends 

with his pals 

Your silky strands are so gentle 

you create your own jacuzzi outside the ground

You hold all my words in their magnitude 

And I love the ones you structured

in soft picnic grasses of found

You take in water

And feed me champagne

You needed sunshine

and we make rainbows, not storms, 

when it rains 

Moss discreet in it’s world domination

You don’t see it coming 

as it pushes back 

‘Hey, I’m not here, you don’t see nothing’

But to what end 

All the strands of you, made a pact

Undermined and maligned 

This isn’t a slow manoeuvre 

We fast forward 

and moss PM’s 

push forward

Celebrating their green suits and hat

There would never be an end to this

You knew it

Moving forward in inches, would never track 


Memories in Moss – by Aurora

Peat, slow to grow
but eager to accept
and adapt. Stretch
your arms across the
densest snows moss, and
the jungle groves moss,
mud and bone be yours
to combine in bronze
and steel, bog iron moss.

Spirits, heed my call
and emerge through
the peat moss, ever-
gracious moss, burn
for ages moss and smile
a green-yellow-orange-red
smile. Ascend into cinders
moss, bricks and blocks.

Come in, take a seat
by the fire, stretch
your arms across the
country, household-
name moss, bury the
dead beneath the spirits
moss, keep us warm
through the Winter’s
harsh trials moss, forever.

Hymns – by Aurora

The burials take place when
the moon crests the treetops
and the nightingales sing
our hymns for us. Here lies
the heath and the marsh, the
harsh sodden ground of the
moss men, women and
bog children, playing in the mud.

The burials take place when
we all come together on
the peat, trying together to
find our feet. We let the
moss flower, bloom around
the ones we asked so dearly of
to stay alive for one more
Winter, one more wet Summer.

The burials take place when
the Sun can’t see them anymore,
omniscient plague doctor’s
lantern. Our studded feet
echo their heartbeats as we
surf the moss, bless the moss,
sing our hymns to the peated plains
alongside the whispering
nightingales that silhouette
the grazing, bog iron moon.


By Charlotte

You’d think something called after a pincushion would be spiky or sharp. After all, pins are one of the sharpest objects in the world. 

Well that’s what you think after you’ve been stabbed by them into your finger for the hundredth time during your sewing. 

You’d think it was best to stay away from it.

There’s just harm if you stray near it.

Best keep your fingers away.


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