Monthly Archives: May 2021

The Waiting Room, by Phil Vernon

This poem by Society member Phil Vernon was published in Folio #74 in 2020

The waiting room

Inside the room, I find two men:
one writes all he observes in words
that writhe and worm in argument;
the second feels and forms a world
with simple strokes of brush or pen.

I wish to know the first man’s thoughts,
but all I find is darkness – so
I look towards the other sort:
all turns to white like quiet snow,
and that is why this poem’s short.

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Charabanc to Marrakesh, by Bob Spencer

This poem, by Society member Bob Spencer, was selected for Folio #74, published in 2020.

Charabanc to Marrakesh

I could have gone by ’plane.
A few days would have seen me
in the mud brick house
of the camel rustler
and his hidden woman,
her eyes black lanterns
among the bright cloth.

Instead, I dug a charabanc
out of the mud at Seasalter beach
near Whitstable, where oysters muster
to be frisked for illegal pearls.

Restoration took time.
Five years and forty two days
for rust to gleam, bent to straighten,
flat to inflate and the dead to spark to life.

Then Dover and on to Orleans, Limoges
Toulouse, Zaragoza, Madrid, Cordoba,
the rainbow tanneries of Fez,
Casablanca and finally… Marrakesh.

The city did not disappoint.
The charabanc drew crowds,
the suq emptied,
gold, crimson and emerald cloths,
pungent spices, hand crafted silverware,
all abandoned, left unattended,
just for a view of the shining resurrection
from the Kentish mud.

I found the camel rustler
and lodged in his mud brick house,
a short throw from the walls
of the el-Badi palace.
During the day I polished the charabanc.
In the evenings we ate on the flat roof
under stars spilled over the sky like sherbet
and listened to the palms
dusting their leaves in the faintest of breezes.
At night I thought about his woman
and her eyes that said nothing

and everything.

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Di Slaney and the Folio Winners!

Our May meeting is one we are looking forward to , when Di Slaney will announce the poems chosen for the Folio this year, the prizewinners will be celebrated and she will give us a reading from her own poetry.

The evening will start at 8.00pm with the Folio announcements and comments on the submissions by our multi-talented judge, Di Slaney. If the poets are at the Zoom meeting, we will hear their poems read out by the writers. The second half of the evening will focus on Di Slaney’s poetry reading. Definitely an evening to enjoy.

Di Slaney is a prize-winning poet and runs Candlestick Press. She also runs The Manor Farm Charitable Trust, with rare breed and rescued farm animals. Her poems have been published in Poetry Wales, Popshot, Magma, The Rialto, The Interpreter’s House and Brittle Star. She has been twice shortlisted for the Bridport Prize and Plough Prize, and highly commended in the Forward Prizes.  Di’s pamphlet Dad’s Slideshow was published by Stonewood Press in 2015 and her first and second collections Reward for Winter and Herd Queen by Valley Press in 2016 and 2020.  She has been poet in residence at Nottinghamshire Local History Association.

Mara Bergman is the organiser of our Folio competition. The poems will be published in hard copy in our Annual Folio number 75!

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2020 Folio Flip Book: Members’ Poems

Each year we publish a professionally printed annual Folio. This normally includes a selection of poems entered in our externally judged Members’ competition, as well as the prize winners from our Open Poetry Competition. We also post these poems on this website progressively, during the year.

In a new feature for visitors to the website, Kent & Sussex Poetry Society member David Smith has compiled members’ poems from last year’s Folio into an easy to read ‘flip-book’ format.

We hope you enjoy reading these poems, which were selected by external judge Judy Brown. They highlight the high quality of poetry produced by K&S members, of which this is but a small sample.

Most of the poems have already been posted on this website – and the remaining few will be posted in the next few weeks. To read the poems in the flip book format, simply click on the image below (photo by John Arnold).

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Storms in Teacups, by David Smith

This poem by our member David Smith, was selected for and published in Folio #74, in 2020.

Storms in Teacups

(V’s Kitchen)

Tea brewed black in a red enamel pot,
companion piece to the whistle-topped kettle
that fills the kitchen from breakfast to bedtime
with steam.
Laughter. Always laughter.
Happy laughter, and the bitter-sweet blend
that’s brewed in tears
from fond recollections of safe-haven islands
in terrible stormy seas.

I didn’t know then how these days would stay with me:
they were just days, like all the others.
I didn’t know the loss of them then,
my world too small, my horizons too close
to see that far into the future.

Here was the place I learned about death,
learned that a train could steal someone away forever,
that fear of life could be greater than the other.
That lesson, and the smell of gas before the jet takes the match,
accompanied me through the years between
and all the worlds within them, and,
I can find myself again in a dream of the time
when there was just one world,
filled with laughter and black-brewed loose-leaf tea
in a red enamel pot.

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