A joint collection from two widely published poets opens with, ‘Crescent Moon Over Cookworthy Forest’ which introduces their personal love story – hidden for most of their lives – like the forest and the flora and fauna that inhabits the woodland. The poem develops expanding from their garden to forest paths, notebooks and camera filling the spaces with colour, stirring creatures, a hush over everything bathed in moonlight, and the lovely closing lines, ‘We will grow here, in nature and of nature. / We are the words and the eyes. / We are the keepers. / We cannot end this story.’ The tone and scene are set for the first half of the book, where vivid landscapes and seasonal changes are explored in sensual, imagistic language through moor and mountains, forests and lakes, with Dawn and Ronnie blending in the place – becoming part of its story;


… Our light tracks which crackled through
the broadleaf, hushed through the pine,
are cleansed by unseen water droplets,
floating clouds in gullies and hollows …

[from: My Moon in Cancer]


There’s a calm atmosphere with nature nurturing, pierced on occasion by the stark invasion of man – sudden gunshot or felled trees. Names of forest and places are scattered, linking to the rhythm and flow; Wistman’s Wood, imposing and proud, three arched Fingle Bridge, Piddletown Common, cloudburst by ancient Pizwell, Looking South, Orion will tell us that autumn is near …


Two poets – one voice springs to mind, I looked for distinction of the individuals, would one stand out against the other? Dawn’s poems tend to be long and narrower, Ronnie’s followed a more traditional form (not always!) There is a balance which works both on a personal level and with the imagistic style and strength whether the poems are in first person, talking to the reader or each other. Many the poems have linked themes, you can sense these two sitting on logs and crags with their beloved dog writing about the views, striking a sensitive approach whether it’s the spring buds, sounds and colours around them, snowfall or childhood memories – for example, ‘From the Teign Valley’ Ronnie sets the scenes for us, ‘… you are barefoot in the stream that thunders the valley / and I am slumped under the old willow, watching you…’ followed by Dawn’s ‘Opus on Exmoor’, ‘… dripping wet glissandos / between hedge end and nettle-bed, / little pianissimo susurrations / shushing as she passes …’ lovely.


Aware of mindfulness the poets tie in the past to the treasured places they find themselves in, the poems echo with serenity, wisdom and truth. Each poem brings a new moment, sometimes about family, reflective, healing, love of place or each other. The sections merge into more personal events in the following pages, childhoods, ‘I was there’, on Towan’s beach as if even back then they were looking for each other – but missed. We glimpse into Ronnie’s increasing love of words and poetry in a spiritual sense – then back to the present in a sensual metaphoric poem from Dawn:


The remains of someone else’s fire

The remains of someone else’s fire
look lost and spurned,
the damp within the wood
having won and lost
it’s ardour to coax
a flame, ignite
a late-night purpose.

The remains of someone else’s fire
grate-waits, defeated
cold-cast until a hand,
more careful with craft
and heart, will brush
the burn to tease a spark,
enable that once charred
bough to flame again,
perhaps to glow,
perhaps, if fanned,
to roar.

This is followed by Ronnie’s :
In my skull’s cave

She holds my hand while sleeping,
as I lie beneath my mask of cold air,
contact safety in wherever she’s dreaming.
She rests in my skull’s cave until morning
where she’ll wake behind my eyes.

She wears red socks inside walking boots
as she sits content on her granite boulder
and with the movement of her green pen,
catches the wild in her bible notebook
until freeing it onto the page as a poem.

We walk a perfect day with Polperro painters
along stone-white cobbles and canvas,
this trinity of two legs, two legs, four legs,
weaving alleyways to the harlequined harbour.
Tonight she will hold my hand while sleeping
and in the morning she’ll wake behind my eyes.


The penultimate poem is poignant and settling and the final poem is a reminder how lucky we are to greet each morning ‘… here comes the sun in the morning / bearing hope in a heavy disguise; / Serendipity is planning my future / and tomorrow is a perfect surprise.’ And how lucky I was to review this bumper collection from the joint co-directors of Indigo Dreams Publishing, who between them also publish three poetry magazines.



Lynn Woollacott is widely published and has two poetry collections (Indigo Dreams) and a historical novel on Amazon. Lynn’s latest collection is ‘Judy, Out of the Box’ (Dempsey and Windle, Nov, 2020). www.lynnwoollacott.co.uk

FOREST moor or less by Dawn Bauling and Ronnie Goodyer, 2020, 93pp, £11.00 + p&p. Available from: www.indigodreams.co.uk