Monthly Archives: July 2017

Meeting on July 11th. – Topic – Sun, moon and stars

17 members attended this meeting and there was even more than the usual variety of choice as it is a subject universal to all ages and cultures.

It was well-nigh inevitable that we would hear Walter de la Mare’s ‘Silver’ but we also had ‘Silver’ by George Szirtes. Some poems mentioned more than one heavenly body and there were two Italian poems in translation, one, ’Winter Moon’ by Maria Luisa Spaziani.

And so we ended another three terms of poetry at Ripley.


Two Summer Get-Togethers

As usually happens, someone from the Circle opens their home during the summer break to members who would like to socialise and read poetry together.

This year two members are hosting a get-together – Jennie Milnes on Tues. Aug. 1st. and Mavis Robinson on Tues. Aug. 22nd.

Thanks to both of them for making this possible.

Two Successes

We had the news almost simultaneously that two members of our Writing Group had been awarded First Prize in Poetry Competitions they had entered.

Christine Pope won her award in the Penge Poetry Competition but was unable to attend the Prizegiving. Nola Turner won the Ripley Poetry Competition and is to be presented with her award on August 26th. at the Ripley Garden Party.

Nola’s poem will be published here after the prize-giving but Christine’s poem is below, having been read to great acclaim at our meeting on 11th. July

Christine Pope

Christine Pope

The River Darent at Lullingstone by Christine Pope


My sandals, strapped together are safely stored high
on the bank while I sit with my feet in the fast flowing
River Darent, this lovely day. Sun dappling leaves.

The water is cold and makes me gasp but it’s sparkling
and clear under the hazel hedge as I watch the black-silver
threads of a shoal of minnows stitch the current.

A nodding moorhen, pip-pip-pips after her solitary chick and
paddles in and out of the nearby sedge. Green and blue – tinselled
damsel flies dart overhead and cling to ragged robin and meadowsweet

growing along the water’s edge. A small mouse-like bird creeps
up and round the bark of a tree; is it the elusive nuthatch or tree creeper?
My cup runneth over. Happiness comes in small chunks like these.

For once there is nobody else around but I hear a duck quack loudly
from the lake, laughing at his own joke and I imagine a tunic clad girl
or boy from the farm of the Roman Villa sitting on the same ledge,

also dipping their hot feet into this same river, the same oaks, the same
flinty soil, the same insects. Bird song is all around me, some I know
this lovely day. A pleasurable melancholy steals over me

as the river runs on unceasingly to its own music,
this music on the verge of tears.

Farewell to Muriel Letman

We were sorry to lose Muriel as a member but happy that she is moving close to her family who own property in Ireland. Doubtless we will hear about the new life she she is so looking forward to.

Muriel Letman

Muriel on the left.

Muriel has been indefatigable in her organization of the tea rota and has taken an enthusiastic part in readings at care homes and other venues. Last summer she took some of us round Westminster Cathedral where she acted as a guide.

We shall miss Muriel for her cheerfulness and the active part she played at Committee meetings when she was Treasurer. It was owing to Muriel that we had a Poetry Cup to present to the winner of a poetry competition at St. Olaves School.

On leaving Muriel donated a pale blue glass tankard engraved with the Kentish horse, perhaps to be used as a future prize.

See also Muriel’s profile here.

The Summer Celebration, June 27th.

The Summer Celebration, June 27th.

The date seemed to steal up on us after all the preparations that had been made and at first we thought the weather would be against us but all turned out well.

Danielle Hope

Danielle Hope

This year our two poets were Danielle Hope and Michael Loveday, who had travelled from Bath. We were also honoured with the presence of David Perman, Danielle’s publisher. Danielle has four collections of poetry with Rockingham Press and Michael has a pamphlet ‘He Said/She Said’, published by Happenstance and is working towards a collection.


Michael Loveday

Michael Loveday


Both poets have done a great deal for poetry in that Michael writes reviews of books and was the publisher of 14magazine for all of its fourteen issues. He also teaches creative writing to the over-50’s for The Open Age Network.

Danielle was a trustee of Survivors Poetry for 5 years, is an editorial advisor to the well known poetry magazine Acumen, and previously ran a magazine, Zenos, featuring British and international poetry in translation. She translates herself, from Italian.

After they had read to an attentive audience, both poets and David Perman went out of their way to talk to everyone as they circulated between tables at the buffet. People were warm in their appreciation of the poems they listened to and the poets’ interest in our Poetry Circle and its members. It was the general opinion that the two poets had complemented each other perfectly and many people bought copies of ‘Mrs Uomo’s Yearbook’ from Danielle and competed for the few remaining copies of Michael’s pamphlet.

A big thank you to everyone who helped to make this event happen and thanks to Jane Sharp who took the photographs.

thumbnail_2017-06-27 14.23.48

Autumn Programme 2017


Diary dates for the Spring Term 2018

9th January, 23rd January, 13th February, 27th February, 13th March AGM 27th March.

If you cannot find a poem for the topic/poet listed, please read another poem, but not one written by you N.B. We each read 1 long poem and 1 short poem (of about sonnet length)