Category Archives: Poetry

Meeting of 9th. June. Topic -Travel

Topic -Travel

This would normally be a time when travel and arrangements for travel were uppermost in our minds. In the present circumstances it is something to be longed for but deferred till we don’t know when.

But we travelled anyway through the writings of poets. California, Greenland and Australia were the inspiration for poems by Walt Whitman, Lucy Diamond and Claire Pollard respectively.

Thomas Hardy was represented in his poems ‘Beany Cliff’ and ‘Midnight on the Great Western’.

Some of us recollected our schooldays when an extract from Browning’s ‘How They Brought The Good News from Ghent to Aix’ was read and we all rejoiced in Auden’s ’The Night Mail’ and reminisced about the film produced by the Post Office which features the poem.

Meeting of 26th. May. Topic – DH Lawrence and WB Yeats

A pretty even distribution between the two poets. Lawrence’s nature poems were popular choices and some classic poems by Yeats were read such as ‘The Wild Swans at Coole’ which sends shivers down the spine – and of course ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree.’

Meeting of 12th. May. Topic – Sounds in Nature

This sounded at first somewhat daunting but the search was rewarding and poems such as Robert Frost’s ‘The Sound of Trees’ soon surfaced.

There were no cries of ‘Oh, I was going to read that,’ as poem after poem was read, completely on topic. This chimed in well with the times we are experiencing when it seems that the birds sing louder, having less traffic noise to contend with and nature comes to our door.

The Sound of Trees

I wonder about the trees.
Why do we wish to bear
Forever the noise of these
More than another noise
So close to our dwelling place?
We suffer them by the day
Till we lose all measure of pace,
And fixity in our joys,
And acquire a listening air.
They are that that talks of going
But never gets away;
And that talks no less for knowing,
As it grows wiser and older,
That now it means to stay.
My feet tug at the floor
And my head sways to my shoulder
Sometimes when I watch trees sway,
From the window or the door.
I shall set forth for somewhere,
I shall make the reckless choice
Some day when they are in voice
And tossing so as to scare
The white clouds over them on.
I shall have less to say,
But I shall be gone.

Meeting of April 28th. Topic – Extracts from epic poems

For the foreseeable future our meetings will be held using the Zoom app. as it seems to cope better than Skype with the number of attendees. We have now become thoroughly used to seeing ourselves and others in home surroundings and the meetings are productive.

Today we looked into our Homer, our Virgil, our Milton, our Dante, our Chaucer and found wonders and on the back of the Session Sheet, a marvellous sestina ‘Lullaby of the Knight Templar’ by Anne Stewart, unpublished as yet but on its way.

Meeting of March 24th 2020

Topic: Mothers and Children.

In spite of the coronavirus pandemic we still met but on Skype, from our own homes, where we read the poems we had chosen. This is probably the way we will meet for a long time, (who knows how long?) but it is a blessing that modern technology makes it possible.

It was not hard to find poems on the subject of mothers and children. Maybe we should bring in fathers at some point, not just to redress the balance but because there are many poems that focus on the child/father relationship.

The Prophet


Before reading an extract from ‘The Prophet’ by Kahlil Gibran, Foster Murphy commented ‘There is a great poem On Children … I recommend I for its insights into parent-child relationships.’


One of the poems read was from Anne Stewart’s collection ‘The Last Parent.’

Meeting of 25th. February 2020

Poems by Nobel Prize Winning Poets

A selection from the list provided ahead of the meeting by Anne Stewart:-

1922 William Butler Yeats

1945 Gabriela Mistral

1948 T.S.Eliot

1956 Juan Ramon Jiminez

1958 Boris Pasternak

1963 Giorgos Seferis

1971 Pablo Neruda

1980 Czeslaw Milosz

1987 Joseph Brodsky

1990 Octavio Paz

1992 Derek Walcott

1995 Seamus Heaney

1996 Wislawa Szymborska

2011 Tomas Transtromer

This widened our scope and gave us the choicecof reading poems written in English or in translation. A varied selection.

Meeting of Jan. 28th 2020. Eleanor Farjeon and Walter de la Mare

Seventeen people attended this meeting and Ruth Smith provided the two poets’ biographies before we got down to the business (and pleasure) of reading a selection of their poems.

It is always hard to judge which poet members will turn to most but in this instance 16 of Eleanor Farjeon’s poems were read and 18 of Walter de la Mare’s. A comment was made that Eleanor Farjeon’s poems read better than expected and Anne Stooke was praised for her rendition of ‘Mrs. Malone’.

Eleanor Farjeon

Eleanor Farjeon

Our note-taker wrote down a quotation from Walter de la Mare about his poems, saying that if any of them had the good fortune to give a fraction of the pleasure in the reading that they gave in writing it will be the author’s reward

Meeting of Jan. 14th 2020. Open Choice

Fifteen people attended this meeting and came ready with two poems each, the second being a shorter one for the last part of the meeting. Sometimes members take the opportunity to read from a favourite poet but just as often it may be something they’ve come across recently. Poems from different eras and nations were read, one written by one member but read by another as there is a bar on reading our own work. This is especially the case as we have a Writers’ Group for sharing of our own poems. Here is the list for this meeting.

Reader                                     Poem                                                Title Poet

Ann Barlow                        Hymn to Birds                                Kei Miller
Members of the Public                   Nick Ashby

Diane Chorley                     Go and open the door                    Miroslav Holub
Sometimes                               Sheenagh Pugh

Liz Maliphant                       A poem for Epiphany                John Heath Stubbs
Th New Year’s Gift                      Robert Herrick

Foster Murphy                      The Race                                      Fiona Moore
The Sceptic                                    Robert Service

Christine Pope             The Peace Of Wild Things                 Wendell Berry
Day after Boxing Day                        Paul Cookson

Adele Radelat                 The Frog in the Swimming Pool      Deborah Gregor
The Duck                                                Ogden Nash

Mavis Robinson                    from ‘Sabbath’                               Wendell Berry
Recitative by Death                         W.H. Auden

Loraine Saacks                      Mayflower Matrons No. 7          Andrew Creasey
Hope                                            Frederick von Schiller

Ruth Smith                            A Portable Paradise                     Roger Robinson
Squirrel heights                                Peter Daniels

Anne Stewart             Answer to a verse by Mr. A. Pope         Countess Ann of Winchelsea
The Rudiments of Musical Knowledge             Jane Sharp

Anne Stooke                   Washing Day Monday morning 1966                  Dawn Bauling
Late Love                                                             Jackie Kay

Nola Turner                     Jam Market                                                    Diana Sanders
Triolet for a sycamore                                      Ruth Kelsey

Paul Norris                       On the Death of my first Daughter                     Ben Jonson
On the Death of my first Son

Michael Bobbs                   The Garden                                                    Andrew Marvell
A little East of Jordan                                            Emily Dickinson

Christina Webster                           The Caterpillar                                  Guillame Apollinaire
A Woman Writer doing her Washing             Anna Swirszczynsk

Meeting Of September 10th 2019



Ann Barlow           A Dream                                            Bandi (anonymous)
Common Grounds                             Kathleen Gallagher

Diane Chorley     A Song of Wandering Aengus          W.B. Yeats
Friends                                                 Elizabeth Jennings

Jean Ellis               The Horses                                          Edwin Muir
September Evening                              John Burnside

Monica King       The Stethoscope                                  Dannie Abse
These are the Hands                          Michael Rosen

Jan Ottley           Gardener                                                Robert Graves
The Lonely Letters                                W.H. Auden

Christine Pope  Consumer Complaint                        C. Marjorie Smith
The Royal Opera House                      Michael Shan

Mavis Robinson    Corinna’s Going A-Maying            Robert Herrick
Caged Birds                                     India Russell

Loraine Saacks     From ‘ September 1st. 1939’           W. H. Auden
Advice For Winston                         Tom Merrill

Ruth Smith             Thank You for Waiting                  Simon Armitage
The Steps                                           Liz Berry

Anne Stewart          The Memory Hall                           Meryn Williams
After Sonnet 64 Shakespeare       Jean Watkins

Anne Stooke            A Hillpost in India J.                        Milton Hayes
Eternity                                            William Blake

Nola Turner             Forefathers                                 Edmund Blunden
King Lear Act 4 Sc. 6                  W. Shakespeare

Foster Murphy       Rain                                               Edward Thomas
A Marriage                                    R S Thomas

Michael Bobb         Christabel                                      Samuel Coleridge
The Bards                                      Walter de la Mare

Christina              On a cellar, apples and poets           Anna Friley
My Ear Atends To You                     Maria Tsvetaeva

May 2019 Meetings

Meeting of 7th. May − Paradox

Prior to the meeting this appeared to be a daunting task but the twelve members who attended were equal to it. A poem by Veronica Tamending was actually called ‘The Paradox.’ There were two poems by John Donne, one of which was also called ‘The Paradox’ and the comment was made that sonnets, by their nature, end or sometimes even begin with paradox.

During the course of the afternoon, W. B. Yeats rubbed shoulders with Grace Nichols and Raymond Carver with Wilfred Owen. Alexander Pope came into his own, as did TS Eliot.

Meeting of 24th. May – Commonwealth Poets from UK and Abroad

For this meeting we were joined by Wendy Williams and another member of the Dulwich Library Poetry Group with whom we exchange visits. There was of course quite a spread of offerings with Australia being represented by Les Murray and Clive James, Canada by Margaret Atwood and New Zealand by Katherine Mansfield together with poems by Vikram Seth, Fred D’Aguir, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Roger Robinson and Jean Binta Breeze among others from different parts of the Commonwealth.