Come and join Christine and Jane for a fun afternoon of Poetry and Prosecco.
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.
Three meetings have been held since the end of February including our AGM on March 14th. This was particularly well attended and conformed to the usual format of Officers’ reports and the election of a committee. As Diane Chorley had come to the end of her three year term as President, Ruth Smith, the former Vice President, was inaugurated to take over that role. Nola Turner became Vice President in her place. Jane Knight took over from Muriel Letman as Treasurer and Isabel Turvey took over from Mavis Robinson as Secretary. The Membership Secretary, Christine Pope, has kept the office and told us that although we have lost members for various reasons we have acquired new ones and our total membership remains the same. We were very pleased to have a full committee and grateful to those who had already served.
Special thanks and a gift was given to Diane Chorley for all her efforts on our behalf with appreciation given for her gift of instantly connecting with people.
After the meeting, Jim Lord from the Avenues Group addressed the Circle. The Avenues assists people with learning disabilities or who have other complex needs. Two of us had already volunteered to help on a short project and one member also offered her services.
The first meeting of the new term was attended by 17 people. It began with a talk by Mavis Robinson on how, on behalf of the SPC, she reads to a partially-sighted group in Bromley. One thing has led to another and she now also reads to a lunchtime gathering at St. Marks Church together with Christine Pope. Members of both groups have expressed their wish for the readings to become a regular event.
There was no specified theme for this meeting so members read poems of their own choosing, some of them influenced by recent happenings. As a pamphlet by Isabel Bermudez is shortly coming out, Anne Stewart read Isabel’s poem ‘Racer.’ PJ Kavanagh’s death has been recently announced so Diane Chorley chose to read his poem, The Temperance Billiard Room.’ Patsy Paine read ‘Manly Ferry’ by Clive James from his collection ‘Sentenced To Life’
The range of poems read was, as usual, wide with Milton, Blake, Wordsworth and Hardy well represented but also Kate Foley, Esther Morgan and a local poet who had a connection to Ripley, Ted Walter.
Saturday July 11th.
A Breeze Above Our Heads at Beckenham Methodist Church.
featuring Christine Pope, Jane Sharp & Joan Hepworth with Mary Sawyer at the piano
Two members of SPC have become entertainers in their spare time and put on a varied and often very funny show with ‘poetry, music, hats, fun and strawberries.’ The theme was summery with sketches about trips to the seaside, fairs and even bog-snorkelling.
Joan Hepworth sang beautifully, accompanied on the piano by Mary Sawyer and by Jane on the viola.
What larks! One sketch morphed into another and the poetry carried it along. Frequent costume changes left both cast and characters quite breathless. An enjoyable evening for all with an interval to taste some strawberries and home-cooked goodies with the welcome addition of cool fruit punch.
On Wednesday March 11th. Christine Pope and Mavis Robinson read poems to an appreciative audience from the Kent Association For the Blind, which includes partially-sighted people. This was so successful that Mavis and Christine have been asked to read again at one of the Wednesday lunches at St. Mark’s Church, Westmoreland Road, Bromley.
Many of us celebrated National Poetry Day in various ways. Ruth attended the celebration of the life of Micheal Donaghy at the Purcell Room, South Bank in the company of many distinguished poets on stage and in the audience.
SPC members who are also members of the North East Kent Stanza Group joined forces with stanza groups from Greenwich and Southwark at the Aexandra Plant Nursery, Penge to read their own poems.
Christine Pope read WW1 poetry at Biggin Hill Library together with members of the Biggin Hill Poetry Appreciation group she leads. We look forward to celebrating this well established national event again next year.