Celebrate Poetry Today (and every day)!
The official Worcestershire NPD event this year, as I listed on the website is Voices of 1919 tickets are £8.00 and available from Malvern Theatres.
As Worcestershire Poet Laureate I did not feel I could let this day pass without marking it in some way. Submissions opened for National Poetry Day poems on the theme of Freedom earlier this month. Huge gratitude for sending your poems this way.
YOUR FREEDOM POEMS
SABAH -EL KHEIR, SABAH EL-NOOR
A street in the oldest city,
spices, sellotape, shovel handles,
St Paul apparently, light streaming in;
a boy leans from a car,
English? he asks,
shakes my hand;
on an ancient terrace
a man serves tea
with razor-sharp humour;
a young lad recites in Aramaic,
– his tourist trick – but
two thousand years shrink;
a jeweller mentions Didsbury,
a church, Armenian restaurant,
I know them well;
a shopkeeper selling blankets,
prints and plates speaks
in the desert watch
flood sudden, swift rivers.
On the news watch
storm cities, homes, histories.
sabah el – kheir = good morning
sabah el – noor = lit. morning of light, – may the sun shine on you
Nigel Hutchinson © 2017
NO MAN’S LAND
Shipwrecked sea stitched
to an ochre beach,
sky a shepherd’s delight,
as a gunsight,
waves breaking steely cold,
pebbles suck and pull
quiet as camouflage,
except a preying owl,
patrolling the struggle
between shoreline and sea.
Now a different tide hauls
onto John Donne’s continent,
fugitives from the deadly dances
of faith and power.
after the Paul Nash painting “Totes Meer”
Nigel Hutchinson © 2017
“The world is my country . . .”
Corset maker, French and American revolutionary, republican,
his statue stands, without irony, in King Street,
plinth inscribed with his Rights Of Man;
cobbled hill once rattled with trade, now tourist signs proclaim
Celtic Boudica, East Anglia’s former capital, conqueror’s castle
and ‘Dad’s Army’;
today’s invaders are Greggs, Poundland, and Betfred,
though once again the street talks novel languages,
waves of Celts, Angles, Saxons, Normans
replaced by an East European diaspora,
working with hands not wielding swords, lyric poetry
in the rhythm and rise of other tongues;
wonder if Tom Paine’s statue smiles in the quiet of morning
and as the sun drops below the roof of ‘Labas’,
the Lithuanian supermarket.
“The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren and to do good is my religion . .”
-Thomas Paine “The Rights Of Man”
Nigel Hutchinson © 2017
Under a Waning Moon
Syria and parents left far behind,
she’d watch the Turkish moon
from finger nail to orange ball
and back again,
waiting for a call, the boat to safety.
Early promises from a friendly British official,
interviews with an interpreter,
papers signed over a year ago,
all evaporated to dust
in the long summer days.
Sixteen months on in Lesbos
the night shelter closed.
She hides in dark corners
to avoid the gangs
who offer help
in exchange for her innocence.
Still she waits by the edge
of the Aegean Sea,
locked in limbo
under a waning moon.
Written in response to the failure to properly implement the proposal initiated by Lord Dubs to assist unaccompanied child refugees to the UK
Frances March © 2017
Freedom For The Crooked Ones
Eight country dancers at the Powick fete
saw patients with dementia, idiocy,
melancholia, mania, or a blend of such ailments,
living, dying, confined, by Victorian brick
that towered in tune with the faces
of medieval staff, scarier than the infirm.
You told them apart only by uniform.
Other than the crooked people:
the ones who seemed to be growing
in the wrong direction,
the ones who looked at the ground, not the sky;
who didn’t see the buildings, just 12-feet-wide corridor floors.
Floorboards, tiles and lino filled their days.
They were freed but escorted to the fete—
made noises, smelled of urine—danced to their own internal beat;
palms were held up—’keep away’.
The crooked ones, free on this day,
shared in the fun of the fete.
After the tug-of-war, the eight country dancers.
‘set and turn left’. The inmates craned to catch a glimpse
as dresses twirled, knees dipped, ‘left hand star’, ‘do si dos.’
They watched the dancers skip through ‘Cockleshells,’ and other refrains,
in ways only imaginable to the crooked ones.
Polly Stretton © 2017
You called me,
Out of darkness,
and took my hand.
Your light shone all around me
I could see you had a plan….
A path for me to follow,
I can leave the chains behind….
Walk in FREEDOM
as a CHILD OF GOD,
Into your promised land.
Sian Willford © 2017
A jumbo-jet of a bird,
to make her duck,
feel the shadow-brush
of feathers on her hair,
see it swoop
onto the battlements,
on a shield of cloud.
She’s seen condors
over Machu Pichu,
watched them – high overhead,
scything an ocean of sky.
Stared at them, hunched
on dusty twigs, peered
at their wrinkled necks,
their apathetic eyes.
This bird is neither
caged or free, tuned
to a falconer’s glove
it beats the wind like a gong.
Air streams over
its huge wings,
it takes off, circles,
and lands –
10.30 12noon 4pm.
Jenna Plewes © 2017
The idea of freedom
by the landscape,
framed in wood
and hung just above
ten hours down
drags and carries
feels the weight
of her heart.
Dreams of school
and this land
of green and sky.
to send her back
into the classroom,
away from the dark.
Nina Lewis © 2017
Here are some more ways to celebrate!
- Go and read a poem. Or better still write one.
- Plenty of Freedom poems can be found here
- Or here on the official National Poetry Day website.
- Go and talk about poetry to someone.
- Buy a poetry book. Go on, treat yourself!
- Heather Wastie – Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2015/16 has posted some of her Freedom poems here Weaving Yarns
If you prefer live performances to video… come and watch Voices of 1919
tonight at 7:30 PM
However you decide to celebrate National Poetry Day this year, have fun and spread the word!