‘There were our own, there were the others'

Flowers in the garden in July at Polesden Lacey, Surrey © 1022647/Megan Taylor

Flowers in the garden in July at Polesden Lacey, Surrey

This summer twenty-three places are inviting visitors to share a silent walk of remembrance to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The project, conceived by the artist Alec Finlay is a contemporary act of remembrance for all those affected by conflict. At each walk a pair of poems will be read and, where possible, some poppy seeds scattered and a book installation left as a memory of the event.

The featured poets, selected by Finlay, with Ken Cockburn and Heather H. Yeung, include Alice Oswald, Pablo Neruda, Paul Celan and Mamhoud Darwish.

The wide-ranging poems offer acts of witness which embrace 'our own' and 'the others' in many different ways – from service personnel, peace activists, refugees and exiles, to freedom fighters – reflecting individual experiences of pathos, grief or redemption.

The poems and biographies of the poets are available to read online.

Each venue has selected a host who will share local experiences of conflict. The walks visit different kinds of war memorial, including a peace park and a tree cathedral. The venues range from The White Cliffs of Dover, Kipling’s house Bateman’s, and Dunham Massey, one of many homes converted into a troop hospital during the First World War.

The artists

Edinburgh-based artist and poet Alec Finlay has, in recent years, devised innovative approaches to remembrance, such as a tree-planting for the John Muir Way, and a National Memorial for Organ and Tissue Donors, in the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. His work is often collaborative and, for this project, he is working with the poet Ken Cockburn, who will guide the walks, and Luke Allan and Hannah Devereux, who will document them. A blog recording the walks will be published over the summer.

Join us for these reflective guided walks and poetry readings:
Events are free, times vary and booking is essential.

August bookings