Once a month, we meet together at Cotswold Scribblers, a writing group for Christians in and around the Cotswolds. It’s a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk about our writing, share skills and knowledge, and support each other in our writing journey. (Do contact me if you’re interested in joining us!)

Each month we have a theme and when we get together, we share something we have written around that theme. Most of us use it as an opportunity to try something new or something different. I like to use poetry, as that’s not my usual genre. I’m not a poetical person, I don’t normally read poetry, but it’s a fun genre to play around with.

Growing up in the Netherlands meant we celebrated St Nicholas. For Secret St Nick, like Secret Santa, you buy someone a present, but rather than simply wrap the present and give it, you have to write a poem for that person/about that person. It was from St Nick and his helper(s) and talked about the person, their wish list, the year they’d had and everything around that. The poem was fun and in our family, usually rather endless. There are no verses, it’s just one long letter in rhyme.

It’s the kind of poetry that goes on forever and simply flows out of you. Some of the lines are rather farfetched, as they had to rhyme, and some words are harder to rhyme than others. In the autumn, towards the winter, rhyming books with pictures of St Nicholas appear everywhere in the Netherlands, to help people write their poems. Of course, online thesaurus access has made it even easier to write a two-page poem.

Climbing – my Poem for Cotswold Scribblers. Picture from Pixabay

But is it really poetry? I did one for our last meetup, where the theme was Climbing. I apologised in advance, as I struggled to call it a poem. To me, poetry is still things like Shall I Compare Thee to A Summer’s Dream, that kind of writing. But it rhymes, has verses and it’s kind of poetry, so I felt it came under that genre. Catching up on the More Than Writers Blog, I was thrilled to see Brendan Conboy’s contribution about poetry. It was such a timely piece and has encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you as well.

So here is the poem I wrote for the Cotswold Scribblers’ meeting. I quite like it, and might fiddle with it in a few weeks, adjusting, and moving things around. Again, I hesitate to call it editing, as to me, that involves so much more than simply adjusting lines and words. As I have written a few poems over the last few years, I might actually be mad, and collect them into a little book, which would be great fun. I might add some illustrations as well, as there is a way to format a book with illustrations, I realised. It will be climbing out of my comfort zone, but as climbing was such a fascinating theme, I might go for it! And who knows, it might lead to another poem!

So here it is. Enjoy, and when you see my poetry book on the market, well, you heard it here first! I’m also aiming to send out newsletters again soon, but the email address needs sorting out, so watch this space!


The reward is obvious, each time
You reach the summit, after your climb.
Surely, people understand the how and why,
Maybe not so much the where and what to buy.

There is equipment needed, special shoes, socks, a hat,
A diet to consider, keto? but without the fat.
Or was it carbs? Definitely pasta the day before.
A map, a compass, water, food and so much more.

The climb itself is difficult, but worth it.
That is what you have to tell yourself at each steep bit.
Others, coming down, will cheer you on,
“Not long now, you’ll be there, nearly done!”

Then the summit comes in view.
Another break, another drink, more snacks? Just a few
For there is the walk back as well. Just as hard,
Without the views, the obvious reward.

There are other climbers you meet.
Ones with ever-moving summits, expensive shoes on their feet.
Their lives polished, although they could have a closet or two.
People with no regards for others or for you.

They’re climbing every day, higher each time,
Giving the climb all their effort and their time.
For mountain climbers, there’s the thrill,
The view from the summit, taking your breath, making you still

But those others ones? There is no view
Just more goals, more summits, something created anew.
There might be satisfaction over one job achieved
But often there are others, feeling aggrieved.

None of the mountain camaraderie
Of smiling strangers, arms swinging free.
It’s about knowing more, having more, doing more
Or simply striving harder, reaching higher than anyone before.

Ambition isn’t wrong in itself.
No need to aim low or downing yourself.
But wanting something  desperately, like a birthright
That he felt should be his, needing it with all his might.

Tricking his brother who lacked that sense
Whose god was his belly, at least that once, in his defence.
God used and atoned for  Jacob’s climbing and scheming
Blessing him abundantly, speaking to him when he was dreaming.

And then there is Paul, urging us to go ahead,
Not to look back, to stumble and hesitate, but instead
To strive forwards, with our eyes and mind on the ultimate goal.
Looking unto our Guide, our Saviour who makes us whole.

Will all climbers reach the summit? I know
That often walkers turn back; are stopped by mist or snow.
Social climbers can flounder and fail
And many end up burnt out, and only just live to tell the tale.

But not so for those who gave their all to Him
Who didn’t decide or choose on a whim.
Who know their Shepherd, have heard His call
And through storm clouds and thunder climb on, risking it all.

They might have to leave life’s baggage behind.
Scattered on the mountainside, as the rubbish you can find
On Everest, where pollution and death have spoilt the scene.
Fearing the darkness even when God leads them through pastures green.

There will be heartache and grief,
Where views are obscured and provision snatched by the thief,
The robber of our joy, but not for long
There will be a twist in their lot, a bend righting each wrong.

And the summit will be reached sooner or later,
When nothing beckons, and no joy could be greater.
No more valleys, no more tears.
And the climbing is done after all those years

Their Saviour will greet them, the summit reality.
Their questions answered or gone with eternal finality.
No baggage to keep , no love to lose,
No wisdom lacking, no instructions unclear, nothing to confuse.

Take a map, a compass, a sure Guide now,
Watch what you look at, what influences you allow.
A turning missed? A path leading you astray?
This mountain has nothing for you to fear in that way.

The clouds cannot hide Him ever.
Nothing can see you deserted or wandering alone for ever.
That doesn’t mean the path is smooth or you won’t be gasping for air
Until you reach those heavenly shores and see the King in beauty so fair.

(Maressa Mortimer February 2024)

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