Monthly Archives: November 2019

Panacea – by Peppy Scott

This poem by Kent & Sussex Poetry Society member, local poet and performer Peppy Scott was selected in our 2018 competition and published in Folio #72. @PeppyScott


Her garden holds a witch’s brew
of feverfew and valerian
Balms to calm delirium
Smiling heads of camomile
nodding off in unmade beds of weeds
Self-seeded adoptees, she tends to their needs
with the ministrations of a mother’s love
Guardian against tidy horticultural trends
she defends her semi-wild dispensary
Apothecary’s chest of restful cures
for the same cares as of old
but sold by new names now
She knows how to blend a decoction of verbena
Grandmother’s verbal guide to the herbal
Instilled in her, still fresh, eternal

Each warm afternoon
In the appled shade of the orchard’s glade
she will sit and knit and sip
a draught of her favoured remedy, the cure-all –
Soothing stimulant, healer of ill humours
Morning eyebright, evening nightshade
Companion in solitude, bringer-together of friends
Power in its ordinary subtlety – no blunt narcotic

Among her restorative recipes
this alone is not home-grown
Imported exotic scented with bergamot
Measured into its bone china pot
Hot-infused and timed with ceremony
to perfect its potency, hit the spot and energise the senses
Treasured lifter of the spirit: Camellia sinensis

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Assembling Dad – by Clare Marsh

Assembling Dad, by Kent and Sussex Poetry Society Clare Marsh, a writer of children’s fiction, short stories, flash fiction and poetry, was Commended in our 2019 Folio competition, and published in Folio #73. Clare graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Kent in 2018. She can be found on Facebook at claremarshwriter1

Assembling Dad

Dad sits at his bureau flap
under the ebony crucifix
and scrutiny of his Sacred Heart statue.
Settling with a tuneless whistle,
he rubs his hands, unpacks the Airfix kit,
twists grey pieces from the plastic frame –
frowns at the forty-six-step instruction sheet.
He cements the fuselage, wings, propellers
of a Supermarine Spitfire.
Pipe clenched between dentures,
wreathed in blue-smoke haze –
he’s the lone male in the house
bemused by girls’ toys,
‘Women’s Lib’, burgeoning hormones.

Blast! A vital part drops,
the cockpit landing on camouflage lino,
skitters across the floor.
Giggling, we three girls kneel to search,
while Mum prays to St Anthony,
patron saint of lost objects.
The piece retrieved, Dad prizes lids
off tiny tins of enamel paint
covers the model with deft brush strokes,
tells us (yet again) how he missed out
on an art career because of the war.
He soaks transfers in warm water,
floats off the backing, using tweezers
applies decals and serial numbers.
Later, he’ll attach a thread
to suspend the plane in mid-flight.

After his death we dismantle
improbable ceiling dog-fights
between the Spitfire and Concorde
while Dad, disassembled,
stands sentinel in his urn
on the bureau.

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Reed Bed – By Mark Russell

This poem by member Mark Russell was commended in the Society’s 2019 Folio competition, and published in Folio #73


Reed Bed

reed bed in the wetlands
churned like the skin of sea

as light fades
seen by no one

endless twilight
with no one

to face the silence
no one

to hear the rattle or sough

reed bed in the wetlands
rocked by breeze
and the wing of flurried bird

darting out… across… beyond
out of sight

here, at water edge
there’s no horizon
but thought of horizon
carried by the nearness of sea

or by the wing of finch

the horizon of thought
held tight
in a beak

to weave a solitary nest

and in place of horizon
the tops of reeds
like surging water
stirred by the air… the wing, the prayer

a prayer for eyes
to witness desolation

remote from profit or loss
from intention

reed bed in the wetlands
nearly outside time

but teaming with the secrets of bittern… otter
water vole… sedge warbler
leopard moth… rove beetle
spider… fly
and wasp

reed bed in the wetlands
rocked by breeze

and wing of flurried bird


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Il Lago – by Veronica Beedham

This poem by Society member Veronica Beedham was commended in the 2019 members’ competition, and published in the Society’s Folio #73. Veronica’s Overton Prize winning pamphlet A Sense of Place is available from Loughborough University

Il Lago

‘Che paesaggi che ci sono qui!’ Renzo Bertasi

Mist all week over the lake
spun from nothing               white as hoar-frost

so we took the boat eager for passage
from the ordinary world

into this other                     cold
untouchable                   the mountains hidden

and if there were an Ice Queen
she was far off sullen                   deep in snow

for the mist was like snow         like snow’s
soft oppression against a window                        the moon

rising above                                which was the sun
poised on a ribbon of silver

but we were just journeying         all we ever knew lost

keel cutting through the black mirror                         sibilance
of water                     waiting for the jetty

small judder of a boat making harbour

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