Segments March Workshop

This is the Segments workshop which would have taken place on Wednesday 18th March in Ledbury’s Burgage Hall

The Festival is very grateful to practitioner Sara-Jane Arbury for sharing her plans for the workshop. Make yourself a cup of tea and imagine you are in a group, and let Sara-Jane’s  instructions gently lead you through a very enjoyable writing session.

Segments is a poetry workshop which gains inspiration from artefacts from Ledbury’s Butcher Row museum, and uses them as springboards for poetry, memories and discussion. The sessions are free, drop-in, and need no former experience. All are welcome.

EXERCISE ONE: A warm-up writing exercise – nothing too major – just a quick exercise to wake your brain and get your pens moving. It’s called the Ten-to-One Story.

Pick a story title from the list (or choose a random number between 1 and 100, pick that title and use it for your story).

Write the title you are using at the top of your paper. Now write your story. But there are rules! Your story must only have ten sentences. The first sentence must have exactly ten words. The second must have nine, the third must have eight, and so on, until the final sentence only has one word.

Now choose a different title and try writing a One-To-Ten Story or even a Twenty-To-One Story!

This exercise forces you to be aware of the words that you use, the impact of each one and the techniques of editing.

With thanks to The Floor Is Lava – Ivan Brett.

EXERCISE TWO: The theme for this poetry exercise is LIGHTING.

We would have examined items from The Butcher Row House Museum for this exercise. Instead I have attached some pictures of lighting and old lamps for you to look at and gain inspiration for your writing. Make notes about the items – your thoughts, feelings, memories that are evoked by the items and your associations with the theme in general.

Clockwise from top left: Arabian Lamp, Diwali lights, Gas Lamp-post, Scooter Lights, Rusty Kerosene Lamp, Miners’ Lamps, Old Lamps

Now read the following poems: The Lights by Miriam Nash (scroll down link) ; A Thousand Hours by Paul Farley; Power Cut by Victoria Gatehouse, Power Cut follows a poetic form of 8 stanzas – 3 lines in Stanza 1, 2 lines in Stanza 2, 3 lines in Stanza 3 and so on in this alternating pattern to the end of the poem.  


Your task is to write a poem inspired by the items and/or the theme. Here are some suggestions:

Write a personification poem from the point of view of an item. Write your poem imagining the object is ‘alive’ and has the same attributes as a human being. What would it say? Think about the function of the object, where it is situated, what it sees, smells, hears, touches etc. What does it think about/dream about? What are its memories? What are its ambitions?

Write a poem inspired by the theme that evokes a personal memory for you.

Write a poem in the style and form of one of the example poems.

Write a poem about the items and/or the theme in your own way and your own style!

© Sara-Jane Arbury

Are you pleased with your poems? If you want to share one of your poems from this workshop, email to and it will be posted on this page.

How about entering your poems in the Ledbury Poetry Competition?

Have you uploaded your Poetry of the Woods on our online submission?

The Festival is grateful to Arts Council England the Garfield Weston Foundation

Poetry inspired by the session…..


You lit up my life and you lightened my load.

You flickered and sizzled, you burnt my eyes.

You were constant.

You were unrelenting.

You made me shine brightly, I glowed for you.

I was a rabbit in your spotlight, a singed moth.

I was star-struck.

I was on fire.


But stars explode and candles gutter.

Fire goes out and lighters stutter.

Burnt finger throb and then go numb.

Burnt eyes water burnt eardrums hum.

You made me flare up then stole my heat.

You blanketed my heart then stifled its beat.

You shine and shone you shone and shine.

You kindled your warmth, extinguished mine.

You lit up my life and you lightened my soul

Then doused me entirely then left me unwhole.

Lighting up Lives by Susana Harthill

Never, in all my speculating, did I ever envisage this –

UK, Easter morning: day nineteen of this savage lockdown.

I think of Giles, patron saint of outcasts –

citizens without high office, status or power.

When I stop thinking I cry,

tired of trusting, believing, praying.

Tired of feeling guilty,

for not being there:

Libya, Spain.




it’s antonym.

Do we dare?

If nothing other, and

we care, this we must –

stand united for our vulnerable; for

the sick, and all key workers, whom

we owe so much! In rainbow colours

we show our love, clapping hands while at

safe distance, as Capt. Tom marks time in paces…

He’s gone the distance! Brought some smiles to sombre faces.

LIGHT by David Winbow

I miss the smell of evening light,
hot metal, oil and glass,
our heads bent into its pool
for knitting, homework, news.
The splinter-groups of flames between the bars,
glow behind Light, Luxembourg, and Home.
Shadows on the stairs.
Candles pinched for fear of fire – the tang of smoke.
Then dark.

I miss the sound of Sunday light,
Tilley-hissing over pitch-pine pews, harmonium,
Sundaybest, and surreptitious-throatsweet,
Moody and Sankey.
“She’s no better than she should be either”
“Hush – least said”
Pulpit retribution roaring. Bike lights home.
Then dark.


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