Monthly Archives: March 2021

Disposal, by Peppy Scott

This poem by Society member Peppy Scott appeared in Folio #74, published in 2020.


‘Hold her dearly in your arms
And do not merely call her “baby”;
Say a name to calm your grief –
This leaflet will explain it clearly.’
(How, I wondered, could she ever need her own name now?)

This child I had failed to gift with life
Here lifted to my hollow heart,
A scrawny, wasted scrap of sorrow,
Never known before we part.
(And where, I wondered, will this little body be abandoned?)

Embarrassment – ‘We’ll see she shares
A coffin prepared for Christian burial –
But we cannot recommend
That you attend a stranger’s funeral.’
(Why, I wondered, would they tell this tale of bland duplicity?)

For that’s the sterile way they spoke,
A still-born story spun for my sake.
I assume she went in a plume of smoke
With the rest of the clinical waste that day.
(And anyway, I wonder, what difference could it make?)

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My Cat Nugget, by Martin St Clere Smithe

This poem by Society member Martin St Clere Smithe appeared in our Folio # 74 in 2020.

My Cat Nugget

My cat Nugget
When he sees one
he just has to go for it.
That mug. It’s
Drained of tea
By me
I shout
‘No Nugget, no Nugget, no Nugget, no’
All pre-remptory.
It’s pavlovian
When Nugget sees mugs
He cannot abide
Not getting inside.

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John McCullough


John McCullough

Reckless Paper Birds won this year’s Hawthornden prize for literature, awarded for overall best UK book of the year.

On March 16, our Zoom guest is John McCullough. His poems have appeared in Poetry Review, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Poetry London and Best British Poetry. John’s first collection, The Frost Fairs (Salt, 2011), won the Polari First Book Prize. It was a Book of the Year for The Independent and The Poetry School, and a summer read for The Observer. His second collection, Spacecraft (Penned in the Margins, 2016), was named one of The Guardian’s Best Books for Summer 2016, and was shortlisted for the Ledbury-Forte prize. Reckless Paper Birds was published with Penned in the Margins in May 2019. It was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award.

When he is not writing, John teaches creative writing courses at the University of Brighton, the Arvon Foundation and New Writing South. He grew up in Watford but now lives in Hove with his partner Morgan Case and their cats.

The evening will begin with a short Open Mic, followed by John’s reading. What better way could you spend an evening? Join us for an 8 o’clock start for more poetry!

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Blind Surgeon, by Chris Renshaw

This poem by our member Chris Renshaw was published in the 2020 annual Folio, no. 74

Blind Surgeon

Don’t fret, I know my way around a body
after all this time. I’ll cut a straight line
from navel to collarbone, as smartly
as if I was using a ruler and red pen.

I remember the gleam of a sharp steel scalpel,
the tonal contrasts of the organs,
their bulk and form,
the pink and cream of healthy tissue and bone.

I’ll probe for the stone by feel, have it out in a blink
of my mind’s eye. You can keep it if you like.
The nurse will be ready with the dish, the swabs
and a needle.

We’ll stitch you back together,
seal it all back in.
You’ll find I make the neatest sutures.

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