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Horse-rider photo by Sara Hudston


 Julie Leoni is working on a collection of poems exploring her family and the farm which connected them. Largely set on the border between Wales and Shropshire, Farmotherlands responds to the impact of intensive agriculture on our food systems, environment, people and the communities who have managed the land for generations.


Walking from the woods, downhill to the pebbled sea, a woman on a horse ahead of me.

Easy trot, then stop
By the gate with the early blackberry crop
She and bay are damp with sweat-spray.

Through the gap and ride away,
gather a canter, lift light and dust

Released – flying-woman-beast.
Hares at 42 Acres Regenerative Farm

I saw a hare. Or four hares. Or the same hare four times.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter other than that for four
moments I stood stilled and quietened as the
long-legged, lithe being stopped its sprint to look back
at me, yellow coat streaked black, like corn against a
crepuscular sky.
We shared stares, unstartled, unhurried.
Then the hare loped into the long grass
to carry on with who knows what and
I watched after it.

So Liz and I are chatting by her car – and if you knew me and she, you would know that we do – leaving words of love and lettuce and then

and then
 Pterodactyl beats
 the air above our heads
  gold beak arrows Cain
  stick toes trail Tanat
   a crucifix at Vyrnwy
   we flinch to stoop
    are whooshed to shush
    under its low grey canopy
    still we stand naked
   river smeared

How I write: I walk, in all weathers, wherever I am. Being outside is as essential as food and water to me: movement, air and connection with the more-than-me world. Sometimes a moment catches me and sinks in, not to re-emerge for years, a seed long-planted in memory. Once words are on the page, I leave them to germinate before returning to weed, prune and shape in the hope of an eventual harvest.

Julie Leoni

Julie Leoni lives on the Welsh Borders where she swims in the river at the bottom of her garden and raises raspberries, rhubarb and her children. She blogs for Psychologies Magazine and runs family retreats in community settings. 

She is the author of three non-fiction books which can be found at

Poems copyright © Julie Leoni 2024.

Photo of horse-woman shadow copyright© Sara Hudston 2024.

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