Postman’s Park

DSC06591The first day dawned of my two day poetry  residencyIMG_0137 in Postman’s Park, courtesy of the Poetry School.  I was one  of sixteen poets in different parks writing poetry as part of the Open Garden Squares Weekend.

So there I was amidst plant sales, teas served in the pop up cafe by volunteers,  city guides, the church open thanks to the staff of Christian Heritage and a guest appearance by the author and historian John Price with his second book about the memorial ‘Heroes of Postman’s Park’. He has researched in detail the lives of all of the heroes and heroines on the memorial tiles. The tiles a huge project undertaken by Frederick and Mary Watts.

Link to the Watts gallery in Guildford

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I had made lots of notes and observed so many things in this wonderful environment and the following was my first attempt at writing a new poem.

Postman’s Park  

 Watts memorial
under pink grey clouds
creamy petals nudge
Boris bikes resting
the wrought iron railings
mossy waterfall
trailing streams of tears
yellow blousy blooms
heavy on fine stems
like tired showgirls
a robin hops in
offering his song
clay tiles blue glazes
for heroism
the ordinary

DSC06690 DSC06693Engaging the public in poetry was a big part of the brief, so I  had chosen 15  different poems by well known poets in different styles to laminate and set around the park .

 I had met Sebastian who with his team had laid a new lawn and  a couple from the Midlands who told me all about the handkerchief tree.. My partner had also worked as a postman at King Edward Building in the 80’s so I had plenty to think about when trying to write some poems.

DSC06626 - CopyIMG_0126     DSC06647 - Copy      IMG_0133IMG_0140

 I encouraged members of the public to write poems and place them in our poetry flower bed or post them in our box.  So there I sat, sometimes in the rain but mostly in the sun, under a lovely tree for the two days.  

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Here are some of more the poems.

Lunch BreakIMG_0118

A brief hug
they sit on a bench
unpack sandwiches
cheese and pickle for him
crayfish and lettuce for her

A solitary frayed pigeon
struts about hoping
for abandoned crumbs

A canopy of leaves
like Japanese fan dancers
tease the wind.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

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The formal lawn

Sebastian methodically measuresDSCF1715
bright orange netting like an artist
marking out his canvas.

Full of tools
one wheelbarrow stands
forks, spades, brushes, stakes.

His mate kneels at one corner                                                             DSC06653 - Copy
carefully sifting soil, troweling edges
his head bent, intent on perfection.

A third man brings in a barrow
rich green turf,  all three
in harmony, finely tuned.

The handkerchief treeDSC06591

I sit under the loggia
and consider heroism
what it must take
to jump into the depths
of Highgate ponds
to save someone from drowning
to risk being crushed to death
by the weight of a runaway
horse’s hoovesDSC06547
to die on a burning stairway
trying to save your mother
from a house on fire.

Is it all your gentle spirits turning
the leaves on the handkerchief
pure white in remembrance.

St Botolph-Without-Aldersgate                                                

A secret garden in the heart of the city.                                                                              DSC06606           The Watts’ tiles tell tales of heroism
rain falls from leaves on the plane trees.
The door to the Wesley window opens
the organ plays sacred music
the generations of buried bones
and something transcendental lights this park.


seeds/trees withering/dying
recycled benches.

Some of the poems written by members of the public were displayed in the tree or placed in the poetry flower bed.. 

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DSCF2534Thanks to –  Robin who made the post box, to Paul for designingDSCF2543 the poetry give away leaflet. To my partner who puts up with all my unrealistic expectations.  To all the visitors who came to enjoy the park, to the many that talked to me about poetry and the two poets doing their own residences who also came along.  The Poetry School.and Garden trust for this  wonderful opportunity.

To John McCullough who usually finds time to read some of my poetry and to advise.DSC06611

Now I’ve recovered from the shere effort of it all. I am re-energised and will finish my Postman’s Park poems, publish them on line or maybe put them into a pamphlet.. I also hope to  finalise my pamphlet ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’.

Some people took their poems home but others were happy to be on line.




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This entry was posted in Brighton - out and about, Famous places, Galleries and Art in widest sense, London out and about, Nature - birds, Photography, Poetry - Creative Writing, Poetry readings - London - Brighton and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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