Becky Cullen is a Nottingham poet and an inspirational teacher.  We have been privileged to work with her on several occasions and she spent another two hours with us on May 1st 2019.  The following poems are the results of this session.  We hope that you gain as much pleasure from reading them as we had in writing them.


The Roast Beef Dinner.

Was memorable.

Crisp, brittle, golden roast potatoes,

Fluffy, creamed mash,

Surrounded by colourful mixed vegetables,

Cooked to perfection.

Cubes of peach-coloured swede,

Bright-orange carrots,

Shredded, bright-green cabbage.

A bouncing Yorkshire pudding,

Settled next to layers of dark-brown, well cooked beef.

Smothered with rich, thick gravy.

The delicious aroma filled the room.


A pale, pink, huge pig,

Soiled with brown, soft dirt,

Circled by thick mud.

Its large snout, continually moving for more,

Never satisfied, the smell nauseating.
Don’t stay in my house, garden, shed or garage.

My main concerns, the sickening odour,

No personal hygiene.

The escalating grocery bill.
Please move, go away,

I don’t mean to be rude.



It must be Spring.
The earth is rousing from its winter sleep.
Daffodils peek through bare soil.
I unlock the shed and pull out my boots and gloves.
Time to clear the dross.
New shoots need room to grow.
A robin sits on the fence awaiting the feast revealed as I disturb the ground.
Just like Mary Lennox I’m waking up the garden.


Mints remind me of dear Uncle Harry.
I can picture him now, sitting in his chair.
He didn’t smoke or drink but he always had a mint in his mouth.
Fox’s Glacier mints were his favourite but he liked a humbug too.
I always knew when Uncle was about because a minty aroma assailed my nostrils before I even caught sight of him.



The following poem was written after thinking about having a hippopotamus indoors.

A mouth wide-open with stumps
of teeth, showing proud.
Little eyes are pinpricks of anger.
Little ears twitch.
Its body, a mass of muscle, becomes
a rampant tank as it charges
on ridiculously small feet towards us.

Concentration lapse and he forgets his attack
and sits, with his large backside on our settee.
Leather cheeks spread out over leather seats; brown on brown.
He looks peaceful but any movement from us will
transform him into a rampant whirlwind of hot air.

“Life is too short to be angry,” we say to him
and he looks at us pityingly.


Hibiscus Royal

Feeling sophisticated I order a cocktail.
It arrives in a tall, slim flute
with bubbles breaking at the surface.
The colour of the liquid changes;
a light golden shade merges
into a deep purple.
Nestling in the cone of the glass,
like a hidden fairy,
is a fragile hibiscus flower.

I take my first sip
and I am no longer in grey suburbia
but floating in the turquoise sea
of a Caribbean island
being waited on by
loose-limbed young men
with white smiles.



It’s Mrs Nightly’s daily task
to go to the garden shed,
and light the moon,
and hang it out,
before she goes to bed.

The full moon or the crescent,
the new moon or the old,
a waxing or a waning globe,
in silver, not in gold.

The old moon in the new moon’s arms,
a moonrise every night,
the moonset in the morning
when it passes out of sight.

It’s Mrs Nightly’s daily task
to get her herself out of bed,
collect the moon,
and blow it out,
and return it to the shed.
© R F Reader May 2019


Two snowflakes were falling,
for each other,
tumbling, touching, kissing,
each other.

All around it was happening to others,
innocent pure white love,
flourishing in others.

But it was all short lived.
These affairs soon came to abrupt ends,
their loves melted away,
and they couldn’t stay friends.

© R F Reader May 2019

Someone wise, took two eyes,
beneath which He chose
to place a nose,
and then,
a little further south,
He put a mouth;
and finally,
so all could hear,
on either side
He set an ear.

It’s amazing how many faces can
be put together with this plan,
animals, insects, fish and fowl,
all arranged ’round cheek and jowl.

© R F Reader May 2019


A Sweet.
My favourite liquorice allsort,
Smells of sweet treacle.
I chew slowly,
Minute shreds of desiccated coconut,
Linger on my tongue.
Reflecting back to my childhood,
My father, with a brown paper bag,
Full of varied shapes,
Circles, squares, tubes of black liquorice,
All tasting similar.
Except my favourite,
The round yellow or pink coconut liquorice,
My choice, every time.



The Sloth by M.S.Thornber

I should have named you
my beautiful sloth.
A slow languid birth
entering this frenetic life.
Sleepy eyes in a torpid body
Calm serene to learn
suckling and nourishment.
No norms to follow
No reason to conform.
A bright watchful gaze
Belie the dormant frame.
Not for you, infant stages
Or correct time to bloom.
Sluggish responses
alarm those dear.
You wait, watch and learn
what is expected.
Why fetch what others will give?
Why walk when lifts are ready?
Why run when walking is enough?
Rationing your efforts
content to reflect.

Lazy years give way to
happy independence.
No struggle to participate
Acceptance neither sought or given.
Your pace secure and safe.
Dreams transform, ideas are solid,
banishing apathy and other’s judgment.
The idle sloth redesigned
savant and philosopher.
Rewarding the scarcity of effort
for my beautiful sloth.


A confection of mango and vanilla ice
In cut-glass goblets, melting softly.
Topped with shards of dark-brown chocolate,
Tiny strawberries, sweet and summer-tasting.

Beside the Grand Canal we sat in linen dresses,
Drenched in sunlight, spooning out the cream.
The waiter poured champagne, whose bubbles
Burst like mini fireworks on the tongue.



Whilst working in the flower borders,
I put my life and thoughts in order,
I find some peace whilst pottering
And worry not of anything,
‘Cept will this plant survive just here?
And hasn’t it been dry this year?
Oh look! A robin’s by my side
And it is so preoccupied,
For gardeners oft supply the food
For it to take back to its brood,
And look! A charm of long tailed tits
Elect to make a short visit.
A squirrel flits by with watchful eye,
The day grows warm,
I cut the lawn,
Then trim its edges,
Before I tidy up the hedges,
And now, as I become fatigued,
I go and make a cup of tea,
And sit beneath the cool lime tree,
In this garden, loaned to me.
© R F Reader 2019