This poem is a piece that I wrote in collaboration with Loughborough University’s recently-appointed poet-in-residence, Mark Goodwin. ‘Established as one of the foremost landscape poets working today’, as the University’s website recalls, Mark was working with myself, and other members of my department at Loughborough, ‘to produce a poetic mapping of the campus, focusing on the natural and built landscape of the University.’

During a workshop with Mark, during December 2011, he requested that we take a walk across Loughborough’s campus, past its endless buildings, geometric sculptures, forest greenery, and students, without pen and paper. This would have to wait until we returned to the classroom. We took several moments to take in the aesthetic of Loughborough University, telling clues of its potential history, its basic geography; Mark suggested that we think, and write, as though we were cartographers (poetic map-makers).

This phrase, ‘cartographers’, etched itself onto my brain and, on return to the classroom, became the poem you see below you on this page. A literal attempt of mapping Loughborough University’s campus and the walk we took on that overcast day in December. A tale of ‘loss’, of mother-nature v. mankind, of my university.

I hope you enjoy it.

Sophie x


Lost to Man

To take three steps,
up, is to take three stepping stones again, is to take a R I G H T,
to the down-
of the man-made
rain that beats heavy 
and fast,
like a heart
as it falls upon
its cold metal structure.
To take three bricks,
d o n, is to touch three broken bricks at hand,
before a brisk L E F T
where Mother Nature waits,
a face,
of bristled bark,
to embrace you in it’s     L     O     N     G     arms, and 
tell you the world is okay.
To take three stones up,
is to touch three bricks
w n –
and sweetly smell
the scent of melancholy
of a world that is lost to man.

(C) Copyright of Sophie-Louise Hyde 2012.

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[Notes]: This and other students’ works from the workshop sessions with Mark Goodwin have been recorded into a blog and you can find them here at:

They were also recently performed at a showcase event, Poetics of a Campus, at Loughborough University’s Martin Hall, the home of the English and Drama department, on Thursday 24th May 2012.

Mark Goodwin’s residency was funded by the Loughborough Fund, which is managed by the University’s Development and Alumni Office.


TOMORROW: The first of my book reviews on Sophie Hannah’s Hurting Distance.[CLICK HERE]