No Guarantee, by Phil Vernon

Phil Vernon is our treasurer, and this poem was published in the Society’s Folio # 72 in 2018. It is included in his recent collection, Poetry After Auschwitz (Sentinel).

No Guarantee

Overnight, the valley's turned.
Its trees and hedges, wearied by

the endless summer days, have spurned
their tender murmuring for dry-

as-paper rustling in reply
to breezes brushed with leaf more rare

than gold, beneath a cloudless sky -
a beauty he can hardly bear.

he sees leaves fade then fall; then bare
limbs silhouetted under rough

storm clouds; then spring - all he can know
is how their scent suffused the air,

the feel and soft sound as he scuffed
through dampened drifts, lifetimes ago.

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Julia Webb

Photo credit: Martin Figura

We are delighted to welcome Julia Webb as our Zoom reader for October’s reading for the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society at 8 o’clock on the 20th.

Julia Webb was born in London and grew up in Thetford – a small town in Norfolk. She left school at sixteen and spent nine years living in a rural commune before settling in Norwich. She has a BA (hons) in Creative Writing form Norwich University of the Arts and she graduated from The University of East Anglia’s Poetry MA in 2010. In 2011 she won the poetry Society’s Stanza competition and in 2014 she was shortlisted for the Poetry School/Pighog pamphlet prize. She teaches creative writing in the community.

Julia’s first collection was “Bird Sisters” (2016) and her latest collection, “Threat”, came out in May last year. Her poetry is powerful and unsettling, with detailed reality and fantasy both features of her work.

There will be an Open Mic before Julia’s reading. Hope to see you there!

N.B. Non-members can pay to join the Zoom meeting by using the pay pal button, and emailing to let us know, so they can be sent the link. 

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Bittersweet, by Geraldine Cousins

This poem by Society member Geraldine Cousins was included in our 2018 selection, Folio #72

Mist and frosts in November
mean it's time to fetch a bottle of Guinness
with its signature of the first Dublin brewer

in red flourishes. The glass so dense it turns
the matt black label brown. Pouring ale
over fruits, peels and spices, smells

of roasted barley, breezy hops, take me back
to endless summers in my aunt's kitchen. Wrapped
in huge coloured towels we all huddled

shivering after the morning swim. Champ
and Lance thwack our wet legs with flanks
and tails. Uncle Wint, who always makes

things happen, makes things possible
insists everyone takes a glass of Guinness 'to
warm your cockles' he says.

Being youngest I'm let off after a couple of gulps.
Before I even wipe away my froth moustache
a glow of heat surges through my innards.

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Fieldfare in a Winter Orchard, by Marjory Caine

This poem by our member Marjory Caine was selected for and published in our Folio #72, in 2018.

Fieldfare in a Winter Orchard

Do you not know the beauty of your flight
as you wheel and spin in winter skies
fleeing from the danger of my sight?

Your underwings flash white runes that are bright
while your raucous chacker chack chack recedes
with the patterned memory of your sudden flight.

As viking raiders from northern fjords you alight
on scavenged apples of fermented waste,
yet flee as one from danger before my sight.

Your beserkers mingle with others in flight:
green woodpeckers, starlings, wood pigeons
who do not know the beauty of being your satellites.

I remain clay-bound below winter light.
Shards of grass break, leave imprints of me alone;
while you fly along invisible paths from sight.

I strive this season to follow the transient rites
that herald a nomadic existence outside my life -
do you not know the beauty of your flight,
as you flee from the unknown danger of my plight?

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Porcelain Bowl, by Sonia Lawrence

This poem, by our member Sonia Lawrence, was included in our 2019 publication, Folio#73.

Porcelain Bowl

Sitting in my kitchen
I see these things:
the kettle, silent, waiting to be boiled;
the radio that daily tells me news;
a jar of teaspoons just where I need them;
a deep blue eye warding off evil
my Kurdish friend gave me
when we first moved in;
an apron hanging on a hook;
a tea towel slung on a rail;
a timer to tell when the cake is cooked;
the pure white bowl, now filled with lemons,
I bought my daughter 
four decades ago when she left home.
She is still very fond of strawberry trifle.

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How Schrödinger Came Up With His Cat, by Graham Mummery

Graham is a psychotherapist, poet and translator, and a member of the Kent & Sussex Poetry Society. His collection Meeting My Inners was published by Pindrop Press. This poem featured in our 2019 anthology, Folio #73.

How Schrödinger Came Up With His Cat

I am more and more convinced
Schrödinger came up with his cat
from watching real cats -
the ones whose wave functions collapsed!

My cat waits by the door.
I open it to let him out.
It is cold outside.
He hesitates and does not move.

I tell him to make his mind up,
then shut the door.
It's not just cats who don't like cold!
Surely, he wants to stay in the house.

A few moments later the door is opened.
Now he goes out.
The wave function on this decision collapsed.
Two minutes later, he is squawking back.

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Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards Author

Our September meeting on Zoom will take place at 8.00 pm on September 22nd, which is the 4th. week of the month, and not on 15th. We are welcoming Jonathan Edwards and hope you will join us to give him an appreciative, if virtual, audience.

Jonathan Edwards was born and grew up in south Wales. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick and currently works as an English teacher. He won the Terry Hetherington Award in 2010, was awarded a Literature Wales new writer’s bursary in 2011, and in 2012 won prizes in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition and the Basil Bunting Award. His poems have appeared in many magazines including The Poetry ReviewThe NorthPoetry Wales and New Welsh Review. His first collection My Family and Other Superheroes (Seren, 2014) was shortlisted for the Fenton Aldeburgh First Collection Prize 2014 and was the Winner of  the Costa Poetry Prize 2014.

There will be an Open Mic at the beginning of the meeting, so let’s hear what you’ve been writing too!

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Fly, by Veronica Beedham

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


It balances finely
on the fine edge
of the page,

its legs thinner
than print,
than ink.

Combs microscopic
dust from its eyes,
from tiny, hinged wings.

Its luminous body
is a finical artwork
in aquamarine,

studded with darkness,
almost Elizabethan.
Its antennae,

will keep it poised,
airborne in the space

just above this poem.

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A-level Philosophy & Ethics Paper 1, Question 4 – by Peppy Scott

Peppy Scott is a member of the Society who among many talents draws cartoons for the local paper. This timely poem was selected for our 2019 Folio #73.

A-level Philosophy & Ethics Paper 1, Question 4

Katie can't do anything nice without a public fuss.
Is "virtue-signalling" a vice? Discuss.

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Tintinhull, by Susan Wicks

Susan Wicks is one of the Kent and Sussex Poetry Society’s most widely published poets, with collections from Faber & Faber and Bloodaxe Books. Her forthcoming collection Dear Crane is due from Bloodaxe in 2021.


Less than two hundred miles and a few hours
for us to leave our own half-sleepless lives
for a flagstoned kitchen where the ghosts survive
to scratch their names into the windows' glass.

The children spread their toys across the rug
in what was once the parlour, by a coal fire's blaze,
their wooden railway threading between chairs.
Outside, the bones of winter trees and shrubs

and under them these clumps of bell-shaped flowers
hang silent; in the still rectangle of pond
our selves walk slowly upside-down like flies

towards the garden plot where cheerful volunteers
straighten their backs in welcome, just beyond
the eagles perched on pillars, their stone eyes.

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