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
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.