I turn to ducks

During a stroll around Belper River Gardens we found this small sculpture of three ducks near the cafe and children’s play area. It is one of twenty locations around Belper to display poems and artwork which form the Beth’s Poetry Trail – further details here…


The bronze cast sculpture is by a local artist and sculptor Fiona Fineran. The original clay version was modelled from on-the-spot drawings of the River Gardens ducks. (The following photographs include River Garden ducks, along with ducks from other locations).

The River Gardens are a real gem, much loved by locals and those who know about them, but the insignificant entrance and small car park can be easily missed by drivers travelling on the busy A6 road between Belper and Matlock.

“Sleeping or curled” in the February sunshine.

The plaque on the limestone plinth displays the opening lines of ‘Ducks’ by F W Harvey.

From troubles of the world

I turn to ducks,

Beautiful comical things

Sleeping or curled

Their heads beneath white wings…

Harvey wrote the poem in 1916 whilst a prisoner of war in the Holzminden camp in Germany. His inspiration for the poem was a picture of ducks in a pool of water at the camp, drawn by a fellow inmate.

Over 100 years later and the world is yet again a troubled place, so let’s be grateful that we can still turn to ducks; and nature, and parks and the countryside of this beautiful, and yes sometimes comical world in which we live.

The full poem and information about F W Harvey can be found here


Tails uppermost, or waddling
Sailor-like on the shores
Of ponds, or paddling
– Left! Right!
They wander at their will,
But if you go too near
They look at you through black
Small topaz-tinted eyes
And wish you ill.
And ducks are soothy things
And lovely on the lake
They dabble, and when they swim
And make their rippling rings,
0 ducks are beautiful things!
But ducks are comical things:-
As comical as you.
When God had finished the stars and whirl of coloured suns
He turned His mind from big things to fashion little ones;
And as for the duck, 1 think God must have smiled a bit
Seeing those bright eyes blink on the day He fashioned it.
And he’s probably laughing still at the sound that came
out of its bill!