May 2022

After two sessions of writing and acting out 10-minute plays, May’s session was spent on rhythm and poetic techniques. Frances, to stress the idea of the importance of rhythm in poetry, took us through Limericks. Leaving out certain lines we then had to come up with our own – to hilarious results. To help us use poetic techniques we then had a ‘walk-through’ poem where we concentrated on the senses and on including certain techniques such as metaphors, similes, alliteration, and assonance. This was led by Helen. The following are the results of that session:


In bluebell wood the bird song reverberates like a distant choir
with a taste, touch and odour like a titillating treasure.
An orchestra full of nature’s charm and charisma
and conducted by God’s own fair hand.
A melodious mixture of music
masking the might of early morning mist.
Choral cacophony creating comfort,
like a soothing silence startling the senses
with a sudden sensuous shock.

Pete Diggle

A Sweet Dream

I stroll all alone, sun ablaze like desert heat,
I hear the beat of music, joyful chirping birds,
Dogs bark, run free like the wind, kites soar overhead,
The aroma of pink blossom scattered wide, a carpet of confetti,
I touch the brown, brittle bark of an ancient tree,
Ice cream melts, trickles, soothes a dry throat,
It’s a sweet dream.


The garden is groaning.
‘Come on! Jobs to be done.’
Dew laden grass tickles my feet.
Untamed branches kiss my cheek.
Dandelion clocks mock me and take to the air.
The sun is smiling and the day’s set fair.

There was a young lady from Bow
who loved to go out for a row.
One day her boat leaked
so she was pretty piqued,
till Joe came along with a tow.

I once met an old man from Harrow
who boasted he grew the best marrow.
I asked him how come,
he said I’ll keep schtum
so I’m off to peek into his barrow.

Boris, brazen and bossy boasted his Brownies were better than Beryl’s.
She said her sponges were superior to Sally’s slightly soggy ones.


On this sweet scented Summer morn,
I set off on my weekly ramble down this well trod forest path,
Moving my feet with my silent cat-like tread,
Grateful for the cooling canopy overhead,
And as I walk, I look to my left and I look to my right,
And watch the forest floor move like the waves offshore,
With its sea of bluebells rising and falling in the balmy breeze,
And next I notice that the dappled sun breaking through the trees
Is fashioning leopard-like markings on my dark skin.

But it is only meek little me, a lady taking her weekly stress-free stroll,
To fetch the flour from the woodland mill,
Which chews the wheat in its granite teeth,
To grind it to a prepared pale powder,
Which I can turn into buns, breads and cakes for those I love,
So that they may savour the forest’s flavours, gifted by its fruits and flowers, bounteous berries, and sumptuous seeds,
All of which will sit in petite pastry boats, or in the middle of finely flavoured sponge cakes,
And hopefully my efforts will generate many voices of gratitude and favour, for my labour,
Their joy punctuated with momentous ‘mmm’s’, and the licking of their laughing lips,
As the flavours of these toothsome treats tickle and test their tasting tongues,
And the delight radiating from their bright blue eyes,
Will match the colour of the cloudless summer sky.

So, today I have walked with the gait of a jungle cat,
Strolled next to the steady stream of a mountain’s tumbling tears,
Been shopping for wheat that is wheat no more,
But is now just another forest flour,
To be brought to life, just like it’s homophones, by absorbing the mountaintop’s crystal clear water,
Which inevitably creates the sounds of cheers in all of our ears,
As praises pour out of the throats of my loved ones,
Now the baking is done, and I am approaching the long trestle table set up in the garden,
carrying the heavy tray of brioche, posh pastries, clotted cream creations, buttery biscuits, and those vessels for whipped cream and strawberry jam – sweet scones,
all of which will be consumed with copious cups of tea by all of my friends and family,
who all know that the largest cup is reserved for me!

© Bob Reader May 2022

Lockdown Garden

An enclosed garden like a secret,
Hidden from the outside world.
The shrill unfettered call of a robin reminds me
That he is free within this prison of greenery.
Growing grass gives off the essence of germination
Although I am wasting in mind and body and
Can detect an underlying stench of neglect in the air.
The earth should feel warm under my hands
But it gives cold comfort with its corpse-like touch.
The food in my mouth pierces me and
Leaves me with a blood-red, metallic taste.
Will I ever be able to escape my pandemic prison?

RAF jets practise low flying over the Lake District

The lakeside’s fresh with buttercups and broom,
The sheep along the wall lie still as stones,
A cuckoo choruses his springtime song,
The beech wood’s bursting into April green.

High on the fell above the glassy lake
I calmly breathe the unpolluted air,
Remote from cities cloaked in poisoned fumes,
I close my eyes – but sleep is far away!

For suddenly the world turns upside down.
A buzz, a whirr, and then the awful roar
of giant hornets crashing through the peace
of hill and valley, wood and waterfall.

Some instinct makes me stiffen, all at once
I find I’ve thrown my body to the ground,
My fingers in my ears, to stop the din
of screaming engines teeming down on me.

Vibrations make the grass and treetops quiver,
The lake is ruffled into sparkling waves
Lambs bleat in fear, but ewes remain unmoved,
Throughout their lives it’s happened every day.

Each day jets hurtle by, disturb the peace,
Then bank away beyond the mountain tops.
Why can’t they fly down Whitehall for a change,
And leave the countryside to nature’s reign?


A quick drink after work on a Friday

Warm summer sun floods through faded stained glass,
Collapsed, cosy chairs, brown as darkest cocoa.
Empty bottles rattle in crates like tumbling dice,
A jukebox whirrs and clicks, Elvis begins to ‘Love me tender’.

The smell of french fries from the kitchen,
Bacon butties and Whitby cod.
The garden’s newly mown grass,
Adds to the scent of summer.

My glass feels wet as I drain it,
Foam sticks to my lips as I gulp.
The weight of the day is slipping,
From my shoulders as I lean back and sigh.

A last mouthful, as welcome as the first,
As bitter in taste as in name.
My thirst is sated, my energy spent,
‘time to go and meet the weekend.

Dave Ridsdale 190522