About the Author

 

Kate Innes was born in London, lived and worked in America and Zimbabwe, but now exists happily amidst the history and natural beauty of Shropshire.  She trained as an archaeologist, and worked as a Museum Education Officer around the Midlands.  After several writing courses, she expanded her repertoire (previously short poems only) to write a 400-page novel, The Errant Hours, based on real events in the Welsh Marches during the Thirteenth century. It can be purchased through her website, www.kateinneswriter.com or ordered from your local bookshop.

 Kate has been writing poetry for many years and performs at Shrewsbury Poetry Open Mic nights.  She enjoys writing in all kinds of forms, or none, but usually with a particular focus on animals, art or the natural world.  These poems, associated research and thoughts are posted in her blog and through @kateinnes2

Kate runs writing workshops, works collaboratively to write community poems and undertakes commissions and residencies.  One recent commission was for a poem about the Geology of Shropshire, for a hydro-geologist.  Walking the Hills subsequently won the WriteScience Competition, held by the Fun Palaces organization and led to a residency in Stoke-on-Trent.

  

 

Examples of Work 

 Walking the Hills

 

“I distinctly recollect the desire I had

of being able to know something about every pebble

in front of the hall door.” - Charles Darwin

  

On this illusion of solidity

continents have crunched their bones,

inner earth has spilt its heat.

The scar is this graveled spine of hills,

sweetly covered in mossy, heathered coats.

 

The Lawley rises to a ridge,

that points to future sky.

Caradoc follows, glancing back.

From here we are travelling north

by a fingernail’s width each year,

the millennia trailing after us,

scattering rocks across the world.

The ground beneath our feet

has flowed and frozen and thawed

into lichen puffs and flowered grass.

 

We continue on our path,

finding the pebbles, gazing at their souls,

as if they were the events of our lives,

as if they were maps for us to follow.

They tell us deserts have turned to stone,

been built and fallen into ruin.

Bogs have sucked and squeezed to coal.

Rivers have redrawn the world

sending out their ribbons of mud,

their rippled sediment.

 

Everywhere trace prints

and carapace remain,

space-gathered

animate elements

pressed in layered pages.

 

We walk this earth from which we came,

every pebble known and unknown,

we walk and return -

becoming dust,

making stone.

  

Kate Innes

 


Excerpt from The Errant Hours set in the Thirteenth Century

 The sound took another moment to reach Illesa.  Hooves and barking.  She shut her eyes to pray.  The noise came closer, hammering her ears.  Then the barking stopped, and the silence held its echo.  Kit touched her arm, and she opened her eyes. 

"What's happening?" he mouthed.  He was directly behind the tree, unable to see.

 The spooked palfreys were kicking up the mud of the track as the men tried to control them.  And beyond them, outlined against the eastern sky, two horsemen had stopped on the field edge.  One had a crossbow aimed into the trees.  There was a sudden scrambling of leaves, and something bolted toward the track.  A hound bounded into the wood after it.  One of the riders shouted, and the other loosed the arrow.  The hare took two more strides before it fell just beside the track, the bolt through its stomach.  Its feet kicked a few futile paces, and stilled.

The two riders came fast behind it, pulling up in front of the nervous palfreys.  Illesa recognised the Lord Forester and Destrey, wide awake and scanning the undergrowth.  The Forester wheeled his horse before dismounting.  Destrey shouldered his crossbow, slid off his horse and pulled the dog off the carcass wordlessly.  It started to bark, and he slapped it hard on the back.  The Forester kicked the hare onto the mud of the track.

"Damn skulker hare!  It's taken the dog off the scent."

"Gilbert's dog may still be following him, my lord," Destrey said.  He unwound a strap of leather from his shoulder and leashed the dog. 

"Devil take you, Destrey!  You were meant to be controlling it.  Now we have lost him," the Forester said.  He turned to the men on the track.  "What are you looking at?"

"Nothing, my lord," one of the men said.  He had moved to calm his horse and Illesa saw his thin, mismatched features and buck teeth.  His friend was taller, with a head of very black hair and a face that looked as if it had been flattened in a press.