Orchard Days is a collection of poems which accompany a poetry trail commissioned by the Arts Council for the Dragon Orchard, Herefordshire. Twelve brief poems (one for each month) reflect seasonal changes and events during the course of a year. Stunningly illustrated with photographs by Richard Crompton, the poems also feature in a short BBC film.
In the Foreword to the collection, Charles Bennett writes:
When you walk through an orchard, it’s easy to feel that what you are experiencing is stable – a grouping of trees in particular arrangements. But an orchard is not so much a place as an event, a series of moments becoming and evolving. The poetry trail is a way of recovering and discovering: a whole year in one long gulp. You might say that in a sense the orchard walked through me.
Sir Ian McKellen praises the collection’s atmosphere:
The verses and photos show that Dragon Orchard is a magical place, whatever the weather or season.
Charles has led several poetry walks following the trail through the orchard, most recently as part of the Ledbury Poetry Festival.
Peter Arscott, the Chairman of the Festival, writes:
Charles Bennett’s fresh and clear poetry combines with Richard Crompton’s beautiful images to awaken in any reader the desire to go out and savour the countryside, to taste its apples, drink its cider and to sit and muse at “the orchard’s quiet end”.
Charles describing Orchard Days: