David Smith is a member of the Society and this poem was selected by our external judge for Folio #72, published in 2018. A writer and poet, David is also a perennial local performer, and a driving force behind Voices.
Caught in that half-moment between sky and gravity
I am weightless.
I bubble-wrap that moment to keep it forever,
Locked in a place where no one can steal it.
It is mine, and mine alone.
I am the child thrown in the air.
I feel the hands slip away, the wind in my hair.
I am the fledgling blackbird
Taking that first leap of faith from the nest,
Unfolding my wings for that first freefall,
The ground rushing up towards me.
Susan Wicks is one of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society’s most widely published poets, with collections from Faber &Faber and Bloodaxe. This poem won first prize in our Folio competition in 2018, and is collected in her forthcoming Dear Crane, due from Bloodaxe Books in June 2020.
Don’t cry, darling. It does that,
falling on a skylight flake by flake
until the topmost balcony is blotted out,
the ash tree all but gone. It falls like rain
but white, opaque – and bit by bit
the grey goes black, so when the sun comes up
it’s shining through a wad of white
that melts to tears and slowly
slithers down the slate. But what it also does
is fill the holes, the pavement underfoot,
cover the rot, the criss-cross footprints in the mud,
the shit, the chewing-gum, the polystyrene cup,
the weeds, the blackened flower-buds
and highlight each recessive twig.
Between this square eye and its lid,
look there’s a trapped leaf, and green in it.
Martin Hayes was born in London in 1966 and has lived in the Edgware Road area all of his life. He played schoolboy football for Arsenal and Orient, and cricket for Middlesex Colts. Asked to leave school when he was 15, he has worked as a leaflet distributor, accounts clerk, courier, telephonist, recruitment manager and a control room supervisor. His other books are Letting Loose the Hounds (2001), When We Were Almost Like Men (2015) and The Things Our Hands Once Stood For (2018).
Author photo: Victoria Hayes
Martin Hayes’ latest collection explores with anger the way we live and work in the twenty-first century. It’s a book about austerity – long shifts, sick-days, lay-offs, computer systems crashing and the joy of Friday afternoons. He rages against an economic system that has many of us making money for other people and “has us in its mouth and is shaking us about in its teeth”.
Come along to the Vittle and Swig for an 8 o’clock start. There will be an Open Mic before Martin’s reading, so let’s hear what you’ve been writing about. Then get some inspiration from a powerful and exciting visiting poet.