Category Archives: Ripley Arts Centre

Autumn Programme 2019

Autumn Programme 2019

As usual meeting are held at Ripley Arts Centre, 24 Sunbridge Avenue, Bromley, BR1 2PX on Tuesdays at 2.30pm. Visitors are welcome – £2 entry – 50p refreshments.

Writers Group (dates to be agreed by writers)

Sept – Open Choice
Oct – Escape
Nov – A Lull in Birdsong
Dec – Silver lining

Diary dates for the spring term 2020

14th & 28th Jan – 11th & 25th Feb – 10th& 24th Mar


August 24th. Ripley Fun Day

As on some other years, we booked a stall for what used to be called the Ripley Garden Party. Fortunately we were in the shade of trees as it was a hot day. On these and many other occasions we owe a lot to Anne Stewart for her careful and meticulous planning and the production of materials. Other members of the circle did a magnificent job welcoming people to the stall and helping children write or add to poems.

There was a Lucky Dip where guests could draw a piece of paper with the title of a poem and the book where it could be found. ‘Can I read you a poem?’ was a familiar invitation.

There were activities for both children and adults – adding lines to one already provided or rising to the challenge of writing a haiku or a cento (with rules and examples given of course)

There was a poetry quiz with a winning entry from Chris and Sarah Brown who we are still trying to track down to inform them of their success as they were not present for the announcement at 4.30pm. The prize is waiting!

With some willing volunteers, the afternoon was extremely successful and enabled friendly contact with both adults and children who often returned for more chat and poetry.

Here is some of the poetry written on the day, or in Anne Stewart’s case a little before:-

Haiku from Anne Stooke
Small child at fountain
His hat bigger than his head
cannot see the water.

Haiku from Ruth Smith
The pen scrolls across
from left to right, left to right
stops for a stray thought

These, written from prompts, are unsigned.

Hail to thee blithe spirit
on either side the river
The thoughts that arise in me.
The birds! The birds!

I was unblocking the drain
when a monster popped out
covered with weed

I met a traveller from an antique land
Selling Silks and Spices and Carpets grand!

Barbed wire was one thing
I think I’d rather use some string…

Five line centos from Anne Stewart

From the lines of haiku

Glass balls and glowing lights
in the flaming stream.
The morning paper.
All the city bells.
Splash! Silence again.

What a gorgeous one –
an aging willow.
Dead tree in living room.
Forest winds howl in rage,
the woods are ablaze.

Seasons changing.
Tiny buds yawn and wake up.
A frog jumps into the pond,
its image unsteady –
I step over it.

From the list of book and poem titles.

My heart is singing like a bird.
Half a mile beyond the village,
where the golden apples grow,
I met a traveller from an antique land
– my Uncle Paul of Pimlico!

It’s a start, said my mum.
My eyes half-closed.
Small, smaller.
Shades of meaning.
Outlook variable.




July 2019 Meetings

Meeting of July 9th.

This was the last meeting at Ripley Arts Centre before the Summer break and the chosen poets were Maggie Butt, Wendy Cope and UA Fanthorpe, the last two being special favourites and often read. Members of the circle were less familiar with the work of Maggie Butt and were glad to be introduced to a very interesting poet.

July 28th. at The Torriano Meeting House, Kentish Town

We were honoured to be able to do a repeat performance of ‘From Bromley to Bombay’ at this small but very well-known poetry venue in North London. This involved four local writers and members of the SPC who have had recent publication of their work. Jean Ellis unfortunately could not be with us owing to illness but excerpts from ‘Goodbye Burma’ were read by Isabel Bermudez and Ruth Smith.

Summer Celebration June 25th 2019

This was our most important meeting of the year with two invited guests whose readings were followed by buffet tea. Our readers this year were Mimi Khalvati and Myra Schneider who know each other well and. have often read together. We were fortunate to have our invitation accepted by such well-known and popular poets.

Hearing Mimi and Myra’s poetry gave much pleasure and both expressed their thanks saying how much they had enjoyed the hospitality and the attentiveness of their audience. Mimi wrote afterwards that we were ‘blessed’ to have such a committed poetry group.

Thanks to Nola Turner who was in charge of refreshments and to all who made their contribution to the event, especially Anne Stewart who introduced the poets and was responsible for the publicity.

Meeting of Dec. 11th 2018

The theme of the meeting was ‘Baubles, Bangles and Beads’ which members interpreted in their own way giving rise to poems like Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Warming Her Pearls’ to Liz Lockhead’s ‘How I’ll Decorate My Tree’ and Adele Radelat, our hostess for the day, did us proud with an array of Christmas goodies to have with our tea.

Sadly for us. it was Patsy Paine’s last meeting as she and her husband John are moving away from Bromley to live close to their daughter in Princes Risborough at the foot of the Chiltern Hills. Patsy has been a member of the Shortlands Poetry Circle for 30 years and we will miss her calm presence and her obvious delight in poetry. John will be missed as well a he is well known for lending a hand at our functions, having washed up. served wine and offered his calligraphy skills at Ripley’s annual Garden Party.

Meeting of Sept. 11th 2018

Returning to Ripley after the Summer break had the feeling of starting a new school year, for me anyway, but with none of the qualms. We were delighted to return and get on with the business of sharing our love for poetry.

As usual, the first session was Open Choice. It is always interesting to hear what people light on as their choices. Sadly we have lost a very fine poet in Matthew Sweeney who died in August from motor-neurone disease but he lives on through his poetry. Matthew was still writing three days before his death. He was represented in our readings :-



Meeting of 27th. March 2018

We welcomed Paula Piggot who returned to us. Sezgin Kemal was also also able to attend after a spell of teaching. We heard the sad news of Wyn Parkinson’s death. Wyn was a long-term member of both the Reading Circle and the Writers’ Group and will be missed by all who knew her.

Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins and Esther Morgan


Gerard Manley Hopkins

    Gerard Manley Hopkins

Esther Morgan

Esther Morgan

After reading something about the biography and work of these two poets, members read their chosen poems – The Wndhover, Binsley Poplars, Pied Beauty, Spring by Gerard Manley Hopkins, among others; Orbit, Avocado, British Winter Time, This Morning by Esther Morgan. It seemed appropriate that the last poem read was Grace by Esther Morgan. All in all, eighteen poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins were read and sixteen by Esther Morgan.


Bromley Arts Council / Health & Safety Risk Assessment, 18th March 2018

Bromley Arts Council / Health & Safety Risk Assessment, 18th March 2018 Shortlands Poetry Circle, AGM, report by Anne Stewart

Last time I read the report (our chosen way to meet
the Council’s Risk Assessment strategy)
there was a challenge laid down: ‘Next time’
someone said, ‘we want it done in poetry!’

Well, poetry’s a tough one for such a serious matter
(seeking, as it is, to help you to avoid
unpleasant injury), but rhyme’s achievable
and easier to do in the time I can afford…

So… Most Risks – Same As Everywhere: you might be
run over in the car park, trip up or down the steps,
there might be cold spells causing snow and ice and hot
and sudden spillages around teapots and cups…

Then there’s Particularly At Ripley: there might be
bustling in the kitchen, excited children in the corridors,
scalding water around the urn and the kitchen taps,
and polished, therefore potentially slippery, floors.

On tea duty, there’s backward walking with the trolley,
so you’ll need your trolley partner on the alert,
and there are those little lifts required from room
to corridor to room, so, please be careful of your back.

The P A System – two mic-stands, light enough to be
knocked down – potential shocks as it pulls out the leads –
and you tumbling after, and that is why the speaking-stand has
an obstacle in front, and a bright red visual alert around its feet.

The Committee are asked not to forget that Ripley
requires us to have the equipment regularly checked
and to have the Portable Appliance Testing* Certificate
renewed, so that it’s never beyond its expiry date.

Then there may be an Emergency requiring Evacuation.
If so, gather on the corner of Sundridge Avenue
– opposite the post box (no roads to cross) – AND
the Declared Count must be taken too …

… because it’s for the head-count, to check
that no one has been left behind in danger…
So pay attention please, with eyes and wits,
and that’ll Keep You Safer At The Centre.

Anne Stewart