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Rising Brook Writers 2017 Poetry Collection


rising brook writers

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DISCLAIMER: To the best of our knowledge and belief all the material included in this publication is in the public domain or has been reproduced with permission and/or source acknowledgement. We have researched the rights where possible. RBW is a community organisation, whose aims are purely educational, and is entirely non-profit making. If using material from this collection for educational purposes please be so kind as to acknowledge RBW as the source. Contributors retain the copyright to their own work. Names, characters, places and incidents are imaginary or are used in a fictitious way. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead is entirely coincidental. SPECIAL THANKS: Rising Brook Baptist Church Volunteer Library Team at Rising Brook Branch Library PUBLISHED BY: Rising Brook Writers RBW is a voluntary charitable trust. RCN: 1117227 Š Rising Brook Writers 2017 The right of Rising Brook Writers to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 & 78 of the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 DEDICATION

This collection of work is dedicated to the fond memory of the late Clive Hewitt, who was a former Trustee and Chair of RBW for many years, and without whom RBW would not have thrived.

First Edition


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FLIGHT is the 2017 collection of poetry produced by Rising Brook Writers‘ library and online workshop contributors. As well as publishing poetry, Rising Brook Writers often participate in a number of live performances. Each October, contributors also celebrate National Poetry Day with a poetry session and frequently invite local poets to participate in RBW workshops. RBW workshops also produce a weekly e-magazine (RBW Online) and an annual jointly produced e-comedy. The comedy for 2017 is entitled: making ends meet which features the Roman Watling Street.

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Contributing Poets

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Nigel Peckett

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Lin Priest

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Joy Street

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Anne Picken

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Steph Spiers

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Fred Waterfall — Owd Fred

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Mary Murphy

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Ann Talbot

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Jayne Cawley

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Penny Wheat

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Michelle Draper

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Fran Walker

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Barbara Baldwin

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Kathleen Rennie

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Clive M Hewitt

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Requiem for a Crow I fledged late summer, Wings untried, till coaxed by anxious parents, I fumbled into the air. Harvest gleaning of fallen corn, Fat worms fed my growing strength. With my playmates I cavorted in wide skies. Soft winds and gentle sun bore me aloft. Hills below, those mighty stones green garbed. I gloried in my black armour, glistening in the early autumn sun. Comes October and a ruffian wind Tossed me as a wizened oaken leaf. It rode me down, my spurs yet untried, It broke my youngling bones and cast me down. I was felled from the unruly and unkind sky. Here I lie, dazed in sodden grass. No mate for me or chicks to hatch. All too soon my summer‘s passed.

(Ulverston 2014)

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Autumn Autumn comes in both red and gold And shorter days sharply cold. Tattered leaves drift and fly, Capricious winds chase them by, Untidy in careless drifts blown, Swifts and swallows have long flown. Robin sings a song so chill, Bids summer to stay here still. Apple trees ripe for picking, Blackbird chides, tail a-flicking. Hawthorn hedges bare of leaf, Drowsy hedgehogs sleep beneath. Farmers walk fields briskly now, Stubble waiting for the plough. Earth ready for winter sleep. Shepherd guards his wayward sheep. While folk wait for Christmas cheer Hoping for a kindly Year. Little Haywood 1st November 2016

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Refugee Oppressed by war Cruelty unimaginable Towns turned to flames Killing without pity Families gather belongings Fleeing from danger to danger Fleeing from uncertainty to uncertainty Fleeing from hunger to hunger Fleeing from thirst to thirst Cold nights and burning days Camping in the filth All our possessions spent Crammed into the hold of a derelict Cast adrift Cast adrift Adrift

Little Haywood 21st April 2015

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Celtic Christianity wild geese or swans represent the Holy Ghost. The numbers nine and three go back to pre-Christianity in Celtic Mythology and then the monks hijacked these past symbols into Christianity.

At Dawn Nine Swans Nine swans flying eastwards Nine singing wings all in accord Nine white companions Nine necks outstretched Nine wings outspread Nine souls greeting the risen sun Nine pilgrims Nine, thrice sacred three Nine, thrice three blessings

Swarthmoor 12th November 2015

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Autumn Dance In time with tune that only some can hear, With fingers poised, expression to enhance. A strong routine, performance will be clear, So, sit and watch a mesmerising dance. The wind will pull and twist and tug each leaf, But branches strong will bind and hold with care. Sad truth to say, their time together brief, One heavy gust, the leaf flies through the air. A saddened heart will watch but cannot stop, The distance grows and sorrow fills the space. The howling wind may call but will not drop, Until that leaf has vanished without trace. As seasons pass, new strength will surely grow, And leaves still dance, when soft breeze starts to blow.

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Halloween As witches on their broomsticks fly Over purple hills and darkening sky, Black cat chases shadows grey, Ready now, let magic play! Fill the cauldron to the top, One by one foul creatures drop Into the stinking, bubbling stew, A wicked potion, thick as glue. Boiled and stirred and left to cool Best described as rancid gruel! Evil sits upon the wall, And spirits hear their heavenly call To open graves, let poor souls ride, Each cry and shriek intensified, As mist and moonshine swallow sound, Except the wail of distant hound. The children prowl the darkest streets, Begging bowls to carry treats. Kitted out, designer ghoul, Warlocks, witches, wizards rule! We rant about those hooded clowns Now wandering through our crazy towns, Yet dress our babes in masks and paints With no regard to hallowed saints, Set to celebrate their special day. The world‘s gone mad in every way|

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Advent Calendar Advent Calendar, up and ready, Counting down again, To the birth of special baby, Visited by Three Wise Men. Or am I on the wrong track, No baby there at all! Just a big, red, chuckling Santa, Climbing chimney wall!

Which way do you see Christmas? Ask my daughter and she‘ll say, ‗A satsuma and chestnut stuffing Make it a special day.‘ Some look forward to the infant The presents ripped wide open, king, Littering the floor! Nativity, holy birth, What was that peaceful A saviour for the people, message, To unite all those on Earth. Behind the stable door? A baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, Asleep in box of hay. A blessing for mankind! From that First Christmas Day! Or is it Santa we are waiting for? Carrying bulky sack. Presents for the lucky kids, When there‘s nothing much they lack! Parents searching high and low, For this year‘s special toy. Forget how much it costs! How easy to destroy! 11


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Optimism Accentuate the positive, I think that‘s what they say, Put a smile upon your face to have a worthwhile day. Look upon the bright side, things could be much worse, But doesn‘t everybody have those days you want to curse? Through pain I can‘t be giggly or laugh until I ache, I‘ll save that for another day, when it‘s easier to take. I‘ll smile to see the sunshine, I‘ll frown to see the rain, Decisions that you make, some you lose and some you gain. You can‘t be happy all the time, show me a man who can, Life will have its ups and downs, no matter what you plan. I hope your cheerful days out-number those you‘re sad, But having a good wallow can be good as well as bad. Drown yourself in pity, think of number one, Send those fools away who try to move you on. When the black mood‘s over, when out the other side, Forget it and take stock, once the tears have dried! Accentuate the positive I think that‘s what they say Lecture is now over, I‘ll go and start my day, (and it had better be a good one!)

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School Nativity They went into the stable, The one place left to stay, And weary from the journey, Mary sank down on the hay.

Surrounded and enveloped, Guided with such care, A crowd of heavenly angels Were happy to be there!

Her head was full of feelings She couldn‘t quite describe, Her back ached and she shivered, It was good to be inside.

But Mary hardly saw them, Her heart was filled with joy, For in her arms there had been placed, A tiny baby boy!

As her eyes became accustomed To the darkness and the gloom, She noticed just in front of her, There was another room.

He gazed up at his mother For just a minute or two, Then he yawned and fell asleep, As all good babies do!

And as she gazed intently, The room appeared to glow, Dim at first, but soon the light Was strong enough to know…. That there was someone waiting, Calling out her name, A sound so soft and soothing But urgent all the same. Though Joseph stood beside her, She knew that she must go, And in spite of feeling tired, She walked towards the glow.

The angels sang their carols, And Joseph allowed to see, The little baby, Jesus, Born for you and me! They went into the stable, The one place left to stay, The miracle of a Saviour‘s birth Is remembered to this day! And as a sign of welcome To people near and far, Angels flew across dark skies And lit them with a star!

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Sensible! Running down the window, once more the raindrops chase, Linger for a moment and then resume the race. One rushes on ahead, to be the first, of what? Drowned by all the others, what sense have raindrops got? People rushing by, what busy, busy lives, Buzzing just like bees, around their precious hives, One busier than most, really, really hot, Despised by all the others, what sense have people got? Take some time to look around, watch those raindrops fall, Busy lives and busy bees, a piper‘s tune will call, Take some time to listen, bless everything you‘ve got, Slow down and contemplate those things which mean a lot!

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This page was reserved! It was a special place where all those silent poets who write down their thoughts and then pop them away on envelopes inside old toffee tins, or, scribbled in fading diaries, or, lost in computer hard drives. This page, and as many more as needed, was reserved for all of them. Who knows, perhaps, one of these hidden thoughts could have sparked an idea... begun a revolution... lifted a lonely soul out of depression. But, it was not to be because the shy poet didn‘t believe in their own work, didn‘t believe in themselves, enough to want to see their words published and be enjoyed by others. Perhaps ... Perhaps ... next year they will be braver and we will all be the better for it.

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The flight of stairs signals the beginning Stairs creaked with his weight on every step Climbing, slowly, purposefully away from the television The banister ached under the pressure of his oversized bare-knuckled hand. The curtains never twitched, nor slippers glided across the kitchen floor The fire cradled the dog and the music of the night played its lament. The landing, lit by tungsten, was a staging post Echoing lungs gasped as his miner‘s cough cut the air The bathroom‘s tiles bounced back the sound of his relief. The blinds stayed down, no toddler walking barefoot here The cats curled together in hidden sanctuary-beds of fur. Clicking and twisting, the knob releases its wooden shield He passes through, now entering, leaving them all behind A second clicking seals the barricade, pushed by a hefty thigh. The muffling rug silences, while my heartbeats snore through the air The toys on dusty shelves watch in mystery, eyes wide. The hum from mucous-suffused throat comes louder Warmth from his sweaty body permeates the air and chills me The duvet is opened wide, pulled by his vein-pulsed arms to let him in. The mattress stifles its familiar gnawing, rhythmic groan, Crisp pillow, salted and dried so many times, yields to his head. He smiles and brushes my long hair with his crusty fingers His torso fronted by a rod of steel, furnace hot, determined 16


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My body seals itself from tough intent and temples throb with disgust. He thrusts and pummels, sighs stifling, endless and ended - with a kiss. So vile a sign - yet welcomed for its formal termination. He replays the rasping bed, then twisted knob, the creaking stairs and hacking cough Descends clumsily to the hallway, then the kitchen for the evening cup of tea. The toys close eyes, the blind dips, the curtains yawn, the duvet sighs as it finds its proper place. The TV blasts and ignorance below me mutely welcomes my role once more Unwillingly supplanting his dead-head wife, my bastard mother.

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The flight of wine and lovers I booked a meal at ten to two I booked it for my lover We went along and chose to have Some meat with pickled plover The next course had some blue-grey fish With strands of wilted samphire We forked it up and pursed our lips The taste was simply dire For mains we had some confit duck With berries glazed with honey We ate the lot and smiled again It tasted like a bunny! For our dessert we chose a mousse Made from exotic fruits We ate each mouthful happily And praised its ethnic roots With every course we drank some wine A white, a red, a rose And when dessert arrived at last A light Hungarian Tokay The meal was nice, the wine was great We‘d eaten well and drunk our fill We looked across the table then So who would pay the wretched bill? 18

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‗I thought you asked me out to dine‘ ‗No, you asked me I‘m sure‘ ‗Then let‘s go Dutch and share it all‘ ‗I can‘t, you know I‘m poor‘ ‗But you ordered that flight of wine How could you be so mean?‘ ‗I picked it out, because, my love Its price was quite obscene‘ The waiter came, I gave my card My lover offered praise… We left our mints and petits fours… And went our separate ways

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Rising Brook Writer‘s Carol –

while shepherd‘s watched

As writers read their words aloud All hoping to be good, They strive so hard for great ideas That will be understood When Mary writes, it‘s erudite And full of fancy words When Penny reads her poems out They‘re often quite absurd Now Nigel writes of nature‘s world And furrows deep his brow When Christine reads of dragons bold Which live and breathe right now The Anne‘s give voice to women‘s plight Each in a different way One‘s girls go up the garden path The other‘s go astray.

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Dick uses words to share his views Old stories to re-tell So Steph must judge and arbitrate And does it very well Then Kathleen‘s quiet but says so much In such a gentle way And Jayne makes lions sing her song Rip-roaring as they play And Joy writes verse that‘s very deep And makes us all feel sad So she is pleased to change today And make you all feel glad. So Rising Brook, our writer‘s group Ends just another year But words are shared and ideas aired Long may we all meet here.


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Cosford Air Show ‗And next we have the spitfire…‘ Dumpy, rounded, comfy as gran, it sits there, drowsing in buttercups till the men reach up and tweak its nose Twist, tweak, twist… It wakes with a startled snore, a muddled pause, and then shaking off sleep, trundles at its tormenters. They leap from its path as, fury hardening, it sleeks to a dagger sweeps to skim, and finally lifts. Seemingly slowly it climbs, turns and… suddenly it‘s in a roaring dive a flash, a streak of steel – then it flicks like a whip and shoots up straight and smooth as a candle. It flattens, zips through cloud a hunter, focussed, relentless precise as a slicing scalpel. It swerves, banks, and plunges. Then it soars languid to roll in victory as we applaud. My son, bright and quick and keen, might have piloted such a thing. Is it a modern replica, I wonder? Or bits of several planes salvaged from hillsides and the sea?

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Flight Memory: today flies away as if it never was, a day at school, reruns on vivid colours and smells. Nursery, yes, even that recalled with ease: it won‘t fade away. Scary woman, huge breasts and round, smelled of sweat and disinfectant. Forced to eat tomatoes. Never even seen one before, cold, hard bitter. Made to lay down on a camp bed; afternoon sleeping. Totally alien. Desertion. Alone. Scared. Camp bed, wet bed. No, that was the hospital. Hospital on the Foregate. The old not the new. Memory: a child crying in the night being plonked on my bed in her wet nighty. Nurse shouting. Side ward. Cold. Memory: plays tricks. Jelly and ice-cream, starched aprons. Desertion. Alone. Scared. A week. A lifetime. Bloodied and dark. Memory: playground: so much noise. Fingers entwined in wire mesh. Cling to fence. Scream for home. Warm milk only comfort. Strange place. Shouting. Smells of chalk and vomit. Scared and cross-legged on parquet floor. Irony of fanciful, fading memory, those best forgotten are as crystal while breakfast is distant as a foreign shore.

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Wizz–Bangs The sky at night: inky, black as tar, silent in the velvet darkness, Wizz-Bang, suddenly punctuated by crackles and wizzing, fizzing. Heads strain backwards, upturn in alarm. Surprise, fright, amazement, dazzling. Glimmering and gone. Bang! Fizz! Millisecond splashes dance in the night‘s blackout, Multi-Colours, as bright as their din, filling the void. Rockets blast. Circles spin. Brimstone and smoke, spirals and splashes. Eyes dazed by a thousand candle-powers. Cluster bangs. Blasts of lightning. Sounds of warfare shatter the peace. Beauty and destruction: fireworks. Puff and they‘re gone, leaving only a memory in white smoke drifting, While terrors shine on in the eyes of dogs and old soldiers.

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Message in a bottle Hang-over bad, bleary head, Message in a bottle, Spreading waist, sagging everything, Message in a bottle. Wife‘s gone, took the kids, Message in a bottle, Car‘s written off, court to come, Message in a bottle. TV on the knock, Bailiffs knocking, Message in a bottle, Hands shaking, apple cider morning Message in a bottle. Lunchtime lager, pals come round, Message in a bottle, Who‘re they? Who‘s on the sofa? Message in a bottle. Soaking rain, bench‘s wet Message in a bottle, Canvas shoes, nails are black Message in a bottle. Lice ‗nd stinking, all through drinking Message in a bottle, Keep it fun, keep it fun, Message in a bottle. Life‘s all over, it‘s all gone, Message in a bottle. 24

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A Price Too High (Carers‘ Rap) When the price demanded by love is too high, long days - short days - years passing by, Carers holdfast: taking up the slack, sleeves rolled up, they‘re on their jack.

Not ‗Voluntary‘ work! Just unpaid. Bowed and broken: nerves shot and frayed. Shattered, living on a different planet, Every sacrificial hour tested to the limit.

Unqualified nurses‘ demanded sacrifice. ‗Try more tea dear, come on be nice!‘ Teetering on the edge of personal abyss, Wailing inside, keening for what they miss.

Caring isn‘t a choice, it‘s not a ‗vocation‘. There‘s no chance of a fat promotion, no direct lines of communication. No-one sane signs up for such tribulation.

With no let up on the morrow, just another day of toil and sorrow. Slogging hard from early light, with every frustration and another fight.

Without respite, without let up, day in, day out. Over spilling cup, losing their own life‘s inner beauty, caught on a spiral of love and duty.

Carers always die first, statistics show worn out, defeated, always on the go. While unburdened, the ‗cared for one‘ happily lives on, and on, and on, and on.

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Our Family Tree A family tree we‘re working on, to see from where we came, Of people who we never knew, we all have the same name, We all remember our own grandma and grandpa as well, But they remember their old folk, a tale of old to tell. Big families of eight or nine, and some they lost quite young, Some they stayed as spinsters or bachelors un-sung, Working on estates and farms, in houses cold and damp Some on their own farms, on land their mark to stamp. Looking back on old grave stones, name chiselled bold and clear, Got to look where they‘re christened who their parents were, Who they met and married, the families joined and spread, The kids that came along so quick, along same paths we tread. We scour along old census records from many years gone by, See the age of head of household and all who lived and why, Some left home at early age for to find some work, Spread around the villages, none of them to shirk. Need a bigger sheet of paper, as the families spread and grow, William Thomas Charles and John, reoccur in all lines we know. Now we‘re back to where we‘re found, back to 1753 we tow, Following all the records of, the church and census as we go. Our turn will come soon enough, as time it flashes by, Never know when that will be, it‘s better laugh than cry, Name and date of birth and death, chiselled into stone, A patch of good old England, neath turf that‘s our last home. Out of the six generations of farmers, I and my father were the only ones to benefit from the use of tractors. I am second of four, father was eldest of four, grandfather was one of eight, G. grandfather was youngest of seven, G.G. grandfather was youngest of eight, and my G.G.G. grandfather was born in 1753.

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It‘s the in Between Meals Bait With the workers called ―The Coffee morning gang‖ I should be on a diet, cus om putting on some weight, Blame the coffee morning gang, with in between meals bait, Onna doin much exercise, it‘s what they put on me plate, Chocolate cake n‘ toasted fruit loaf, buttered, tastes so great. It‘s all prepared with the greatest care, best ingredients create, Coffee and tea to swill it down, impossible to berate, Can‘t resist, cut a big slice, me belly will dilate, Will sort it out when I get home, and all round the garden gyrate. I can‘t be just the only one, should skip a meal, frustrate, A calorie count is what we want, to make the numbers equate, A slimmer me, oh what joy, me pants they will, relocate, So av a good think to sort it out, or I‘ll inebriate. So overall it‘s my own fault, I just want to rejuvenate, And get back how I was years ago, meks me procrastinate, Twelve and half stone, skinny legs, run miles round the estate, At seventy eight I‘ve got no hope, of losing all that weight. So come on gang, cut a slice, aif as big as you ate, Take the lead, show us how to feed, before it‘s too damn late, Seven small slices last me a wik, our calories re-calibrate, We‘ve solved the problem, here and now, just need a bigger plate.

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Me hair is growing longer Me hair is growing longer, n‘ it of need of cutting now, I conna find the number, as I through the phone book plough, In the mirror can‘t see me ears, white bushy hair sticks out, Eye brows they‘re the same, can just see me mouth and snout. Another wick and I‘d be blind, what would I do then, My clipper lady please hurry now, tell me where and when, It is so urgent, Christmas coming, mistake for Santa-Claus, A sack a sleigh and reindeer‘s, n‘ chimneys full with jackdaws. A clean sharp cut tomorrow, here by half past six, Relief to my anxiety, n‘ I don‘t want any nicks, (blood) Just a short back and side, and enough to comb orr top, Keep them scissors snapping, I‘ll tell you when to stop. So here she is all smiling, oblivious to my despair, Sits me down, spreads her cape, ―Shall I cut your hair?‖ A dozen snips at sides and back, looks better strait away, Finish on top, clippers up the neck, think her‘s earned her pay. What was all the fuss about, it was not a special cut, It‘s all in ya mind they say, as walking tall I strut, A damn good job, cut with pride, with a partin side me yed, Ta put up with a bloke like me, I think she earns her bread.

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Om not that keen on gardening, Om not that keen on gardening, though I keep it mown and clean, A boarder along the driveway, bit a colour where it‘s seen, The hedges trimmed and neat, with Privet hedge all bright and green, The driveway strewn with gravel, like that it‘s always been. I wonna mek lot a work, as om getting past me best, Me sell by date is long since gone, what would you suggest, A fine day worker that is me, my week it is compressed, Just an hour here and there, all my time and sweat invest. It‘s not like I am lazy, motivation is not just there, Me dad he‘s not about now, whip me up n‘ give me flare, Energy is slacking and as for stamina that‘s impaired, What om looking for right now, is to dive in my armchair. That won‘t get the work done, and ov got no one to instruct, To point me finger, give the order, feel like I‘ve been plucked, Put me nose down to the grindstone, laziness I‘ve bucked, Work the spade n‘ fork n‘ hoe, as back to the shed they‘re chucked.

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Aftermath of Careless Voting (with apologies to Longfellow) The announcement in The Echo said the Headmaster was leaving – not because of misbehaviour but the rules of his engagement: two x four years was the limit of the time he was allowed. The Committee then did open up the contest to All Comers: no experience was needed, just a plan to take things forward. But this new elastic contract was to cause them untold problems, for into this wide arena strode a vision strange indeed ... His application was impressive, mentioning vast gold and riches made from modest small beginnings of a million – perhaps three. The Committee soon was dazzled – "So in what sphere is your business? And just how will it enhance our complex and diverse school?" "I'm a Circus Owner, Sir, and with your indulgence and permission, I can swiftly change the fortunes of your ailing, failing school." Consternation round the table furrowed brows and raised some others: 30

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some were worried at this person – and his smiling insouciance – but some others sensed the gold that could be had if they said "Yes". "And with all your … circus training, how would that enhance the lessons of our complex, diverse school, Sir, and please our Governors also?" "I'd replace them, Sir, with elephants and diversionary wild creatures – in no time, Sir, you'll be dazzled by my Tic-Tacs and my tactics. All your pupils – those that stayed – Sir, will be whipped up in a frenzy and bewitched, Sir, by my Team." The qualms were felt by many, overwhelmed by whoops and shouting – even the Deputy was yelling "Let's just give this man a chance! He may not know what he's doing nor have much – or any – clue yet how to run a complex school containing children and their problems but we know he's good with seals and how high the hoops they jump through – he'll train up our diverse pupils to a shape just like his own!" So the motion just was passed – with the half still quietly seething that this joker had convinced so with his crazy leopard notions, sweeping all the calm and reason 31


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so far underneath the carpet: the Deputy's own vote had sealed the outcome beyond hoping. So when term began in Autumn with fewer pupils now attending – for the parents who dissented received letters of dismissal and the Registers had shrunken to a few score names or so – the playground it was teaming with Big Tops and lion cages, inside which were lions raging at the chimpanzees and such. Thought the Governors – those remaining – were beginning to have doubts now: just how was all this transferring crucial skills the children needed? But the new Headmaster bellowed "Trust me – I'm your school's best saviour! I'll soon have the children jumping through the hoops, just like my seals! They'll complete exams on Twitter and there's no point feeling bitter – the Governors all voted and now I'm here to stay!" And when the town woke up the next day and the next, they found it was all true. 32

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Fresh Off the Motorway Fresh off the motorway, I stopped my little car, And took a sip of coffee From my special coffee jar. My spirit it was jaded After hours driving home, Sitting in my little car Returning from my roam. The motorway was hellish With lorries, cars, abreast. I felt a little worried Same as when I took my test. Calm down, my nerves in pieces The journey still will haunt. I'll stick to A roads next time, I take a little jaunt.

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Migration As if I will land in your living room From satellite Meandering the line does loom Increase On and on Countries torn by attempts of peace No cease Hopes and fears Heaps and heaps Of mixed emotions Held high With passioned devotions Fled from what was dear New life ahead? Maybe Unclear They said, they said? When they took the money We jibed all sort of funny Face with lines now Frowns Meandering lines Show bewildered dread Phone clutched tight to the ear I want to come back I think? 34

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Hidden fear Look straight ahead Maybe it's near 'Mother where are you' Sincere 'My dear mother' 'I will' 'I love you ' Quiet voice Loss Dreams now not so clear

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Flight 1 You flew too close to the sun, foolish one. Yet the folk of Aguilas celebrate you With a festival in your honour. A Greek hero in a Spanish town? How come? I ask. Freedom, they tell me. He understood how to be free. Liberated. Besides, we love feathers. Love to dress up in them. I frown, unconvinced. My fettered English mind won‘t let me see it. What is there to admire? Daedalus, his father, master craftsman, He of the Labyrinth Was different, maybe. Capture the dreaded Minotaur said King Minos. But then, to turn traitor, Furnish Theseus and Ariadne Enemies of the King With string To gain release from the maze. So Minos turned the tables And Daedalus imprisoned he.

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But master of invention Fashioned wings of wax and feather To fly from Minos and from Crete. ―Don‘t close in on the sky my son or sea. Just follow me.‖ But Icarus heeded not, And soared aloft to meet the sun. Alas, it was too hot And tumbled he to earth. The motto? Always do what your father tells you.

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Flight 2 Small boy of Aleppo, dirty face, scuffed knees, Covered in dust, Stares out of the picture at me, Implacable, resigned, disorientated, Defying indifference, Challenging. Five years old, yet like an old man, weary, Dead-eyed, accusing. And perhaps we see him for the first timeAnd all those others, crying out For months, for years. And we do… nothing. Nothing that really counts Or makes a difference. Oh yes, we care… But don‘t dare Step in to stop it, the madness. Too many burnt fingers, Bad experiences. Don‘t get involved. It‘s a problem that can‘t be solved. Children of Syria, How I have wept in anguish over you! You who know nothing but pain, fear, Your childhood corrupted.

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I prayed for sanity… none prevailed, Compassion… it was not forthcoming, And humanity… none to be found. Innocence betrayed. Run, run! I call. Run, where? You answer. The choking smoke, The barrel bombs. Breathing is painful. Fly, my child, fly! Fly, where? You choke in toxic smoke.

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Flight 3 Flight. So attractive, so elusive. Men saw it and marvelled. Birds do it without thought. What is a bird compared with a man? Feathers must be the answer. And flapping. Much flapping. Harder and faster. Faster and harder. It must be the answer? Bird-brained they copied, Imperfectly… and fell. ‗Physics is the answer,‘ some said. ‗Understand drag, weight, lift and thrust, Knowing science is a must.‘ Two brothers called Wright Thought they had it covered… Forget the feathers and flapping… And made a successful, early flight. And all the rest, as they say, is history.

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VOICEMAIL! There wasn‘t a ring, that alerted to me That my father had called me early that eve No bellows of beeping, nor vibrating tones Nothing to make me look at my phone The date (I should mention) was Christmas eve And I was alone, in my house, drinking mead And having a little chocolaty treat As I wrapped up some presents, idyllic and neat Christmas lunch had been prepped ahead of the day When all of my family would come over and stay Games at the ready, and snacks scattered round And outside the snowfall had covered the ground As time ticked away, late into the night I‘d finished the presents and I shut off the light Tucked up into bed, my tired body a wreck But I took out my phone for the ritual check I unlocked my phone and looked at the screen There was a missed call I‘d somehow not seen Were my children okay? I‘d thought in dismay They were at nannies, as I prepped for Christmas day The number that called, I‘d not seen before 0-0-0-0-0-2-3-4 No callback an option, the line seemed not to exist Yet there was a voicemail on my text message list 42


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I dialled and I waited, nothing but silence I almost hung up in a state of annoyance When through came a strange sound, the crackling of static And multiple voices that were churned and erratic ―Hi Beth, it‘s me, it‘s your dad, I‘m trying . . . . . . I‘m trying to get through, it won‘t connect‖ The static became louder over words of distortion And the voice of my father got lost in proportion I tried to call back, still, the number not recognised And I lay there alone feeling suddenly paralysed I attempted to listen to the voicemail once more it was gone like it hadn‘t even been there at all My father had called me from somewhere unknown As he tried to connect down the line on the phone I threw my phone down, as instant pain hit me raw For my father had died almost two years before

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Don‘t take off just yet Magic little mare Linger with me a while Let me braid that tangled hair Oh, flight‘s your way I know And still I ask, please don‘t go I‘ve spooked you, I‘m sure The white of your eyes tell me true But I was only eager, Hasty to talk to you Your withers a bony ridge Your back a concave slope But I‘ve seen you trot like a Spanish dancer When you flinch from my old lead rope Fire is your own to command It‘s spirit that does your talking Born as one with this strange land I am left still walking You may never offer your back to me And I respect your self-conviction I dream you, fleeting, winged as beasts of old I‘m not convinced they‘re fiction These stories oft still told So please don‘t fly from me young mare For I believe in you, In everything we think never could be true The most mystical of creatures Lives behind your mud-specked face Don‘t fly from me, little mare I‘ll never keep your pace.

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There is a line full of dirty washing waiting in my mind Parading bits of scattered brail to help assist the blind Featured stories, tangled webs, Receipts of loves and hates A map of routes spaghetti roads I've travelled with my mates Empty bubbles sharpened claws and more Revolving turnstyles running hurdles everything adored Hard shoes off and slippers on And slip into the floor The rings we turn the hoops we jump In the name of love... amore

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It's a stabbing tenderly and tearing It's a broken hearted pain Bringing memories of joy of things I wish I could have again Things I took for granted And I bet that you did too And I wonder if you‘re sitting With the same chair next to you And it's empty and cold And now the chair will sit with me watching me growing old I'm sure you‘re in the waiting room Up there in the sky And the top rung of the ladder now Is not looking so high Wrap arms around your loved ones While they are with us in the light No cup of tea disasters No real reason for you to fight Time is short then the visit is over So laugh and love and dance in clover If we're lucky we stay until we get older Be careful to find time and cry on the right shoulder Be kind good and decent and good people will grow And find them and love them and don't let them go

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Not quite so mobile ... mobile I want to be in the place where my phone doesn't hold secrets and lies Where the soulless handheld gadget has no heart and no eyes Where the password protected files leave me rejected And the emailer doctors‘ Clark Locks me out with its bark Oh the days we could trust Because we wanted that just And our movements were free And find friends app let you be Now we're hacked tracked and unprotected Our whereabouts by others can be detected We're pinned down pinned in and just pinned We can be guilty without even a sin Maybe I'm just a little paranoid But is this our new big brother In the door of the www void ...

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There were rivers and caverns and mountains and taverns And folding warm winds In the blanket of purple hay... The day Peter Pan flew my way... With the cutting of ice as I carved out my slice As the shopkeeper of love worked out a good price For the poetic piece and the chunk of the Heath On the days of the weeks and the months and the years As you laid out your soul and dismissed all my fears And I held your shirt tails as we flew from this land And we promised to fly to Neverland We climbed rivers and caverns And mountains and taverns.... As you held my hand xxx Love has a hungry belly Feed me or I'll die No touch no hugs no holding you My heart will wonder why... Be on the hill stand in the rain The mud the lake the land All of those things less beautiful Without you holding hands ... A kiss to feed me breakfast To lay me through my day A tongue to touch my inner words And guide me on my way And when the day is done my one And day slips into night You need to wait there quietly I'm coming to hold you tight 48


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Devastated by your desire A pit full of anger of hate with your fire... An endangered species As he blew us to pieces A Battle of bullets Legs hearts and gullets Piercing pieces and practically placed The shots were taken Our bodies laced A river of shattered shocked souls A bitter platter of slides and rolls As we fell and lost our places A broken heart a death of races Why would you practice such disgrace And throw death in life's beautiful face I loved my life... I loved my wife and I loved my sister my brother my child And now I have been forced to leave their side You decided ... You took what was mine All of my things my desires divine A bitter action not sure of the cause Some lives taken some hearts on pause You fulfilled your wishes and left me bereft My family alone and have nothing left ... Devastated by your Desire

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Holiday Bound Suitcase bulging, overflowing, The pile of clothes forever growing Pack and repack that‘s the routine, Long dress, short dress and in-between; Bikini, beach towel and a beach bag, Tops and bottoms, flip flops and hat. Heading over the Atlantic Ocean, Mustn‘t forget the suntan lotion. So many things I need to take, Necessities and for just in case. I‘ve saved and saved all year for this, Relaxation and sun kissed bliss. Sandy beach and clear blue sea, Two weeks of escape and getaway for me. But first the flight and airport stresses, Passport checks and boarding passes. Just cast aside any travel fears, The holiday starts right now, right here. The cabin crew sells champagne, wine and beers, So raise a glass, happy holiday! Cheers!

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In memory of Clive M. Hewitt Former Chair and long serving Trustee RBW June 1939 — Jan 2017

Names “A rose by any other name would smell just as sweetly,” they say: though I may beg to differ. A name has a magic, all of its own. Just as sweet or bitter. Of old they knew, but we forget, of the magic that names bring Of remembrances, sweet memory, and the bitterness of things. “Lest we forget,” the poem runs, by now it‟s far too late subsumed as many are by bitterness and hate. Forgot are Dyrham, Oudenard and Marne, with time‟s onward march, for 9/11, and Desert Storm, are the new names on the arch. Babies Oliver and Rose are new, ten fingers and ten toes, a little mouth that cries, „Here‟s life!‟ under a rosebud nose. There is much more to names, my friends, than any ever knows, so let us throw the hate away, and concentrate on those. Clive M. Hewitt 2009

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There‘s always a seat in workshop ready for a new poet ... Could it be you?

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Acknowledgements Front Cover: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ I. Kirk Back Cover: RBW Patron Ian McMillan image A Mealing Page 41: Wright Brothers - Library of Congress The permanent address of the digital image is: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ppprs.00604 The catalog record for this image, then use: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/ item/2001696487/ Wikipedia image in public domain Wilbur Wright piloting 1902 glider near Kitty Hawk, N.C.

Where possible RBW uses open source graphics where the source permits not-for-profit educational use. Should anyone‘s copyright be accidentally infringed please let us know and we will willingly acknowledge the source in any reprint and/or remove the image.

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FLIGHT Rising Brook Writers‘ 2017 poetry collection. It includes work by contributing poets who participate in Rising Brook Writers‘ weekly library and online workshops.

RBW Patron: The Renowned Poet Ian McMillan

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Flight - RBW Poetry Collection 2017