Poetry For Pleasure

The Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All are very welcome. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572


Latest News

October 2013


In the month preceding Armistice Day, we shared poems about war. Some were familiar and written by established ‘traditional’ poets, others were lesser known or more modern works and several group members shared their own work with us. Subjects included the trenches of the first world war, The Falklands conflict, WWII, Afghanistan and Iraq and a very moving reference to the courage of the War Horse, immortalised in both verse and film. We also heard one about the Aberfan disaster of 1966, when feelings ran high in the village over the distribution of aid. As expected, it was an emotional, reflective evening but in no way depressing. Hundreds of thousands have lost their lives fighting wars and countless others will bear the physical and mental scars for the rest of their days so it was fitting to devote one evening at least to the men and women who sacrificed so much for their country or their cause. We must never let them be forgotten, or their loved ones who could only wait… and wait… and, of course, still do, to this day. The poetry of war goes deep, touches the soul in a unique way and is humbling. It was a privilege to ‘remember them’ by sharing something of these grim events and seeing them through the eyes of those who cared enough to memorialise their thoughts.


On a lighter note, we are hoping to launch a book of children’s poetry from 2013 on Saturday, 9th November at the Conquest Theatre from 10am to midday. The money raised from this project will fund the 2014 competition (see advance details in this issue of OtR). We think there is an eclectic selection of poems and that they will make excellent Christmas presents. We have certainly enjoyed reading the poems and congratulate the young people on their efforts.


The date for the Celebration of Children’s Poetry 2014 has yet to be finalised but is likely to be 12th or 19th March.


Next meeting: 6th November when Charles Gordon-Clark will discuss with us The Problems of Classical References in English Poetry.


















FOUR AGE GROUPS: UP TO 7; 8-11; 12-14; 15-18


Further details can be obtained from your school


or Mrs B Cullum: 01568 760558


Our environment could include Our Countryside, our Cities, Our Country, Our Planet, The Family, or School,


The Life of Hedgehogs… or other ideas.





September 2013

September brings shorter, cooler days and our first meeting of a new season. We have an interesting and varied programme planned for the coming months, but our opening meeting was to welcome new and existing members into or back to the fold. Margaret (Dallow), presiding, went easy on the gavel… after all, some of us had not met since July and a certain amount of chatter was inevitable. But poetic minds were soon switched on and focused as we settled down to share our work – some old, some new; some borrowed and some just came out of the blue… poetry in all its forms is very thought-provoking; it can stir the emotions, raise a laugh, bring comfort and sometimes sends a shiver down the spine. It seldom fails to inspire and always touches the soul. T S Eliot had this to say about it: ‘Poetry is not a turning loose of emotion, but an escape from emotion; it is not the expression of personality, but an escape from personality. But, of course, only those who have personality and emotions know what it means to want to escape from these things.’ Food for thought…


Next meeting 2nd October: Bring a War Poem – about any conflict.




The night hangs heavy
with the sulphur fumes.
The evening mist gathers
down the valley.

Drying the hops has begun;
sacks brought to the kiln,
picked and leafed in ancient cribs,
piled high on the lofty greenstage.

Now carefully spread, sack by sack,
on the kiln’s hessian floor,
to be dried by oil or coal.
The man in charge is called The Dryer.

He’s the man who holds the key
to whether the crop succeeds or fails.
Two loads a day; he never sleeps,
eight hours at a time.

The hops are cooked,
then you wait
for the load to come back…
A phrase the farmer used.

Cooled and coddled,
finally crushed under pressure
into the giant pockets
proudly stamped the with the farmer’s name.

We lived and breathed
hops, here in the Frome Valley.
It was our life, our heritage,
it simply consolidated village life.

It’s all but gone;
an old man’s memories now.
Will our children ever know
the feeling of a community pulling together?

Margaret Dallow.

July 2013

July means Bromyard Gala and Wimbledon – and for Bromyard poets means our annual Garden Meeting. All of these events are known to attract unreliable and unseasonable weather but it couldn’t have been kinder to us this year. Judy Malet invited us to her charming home in Pudleston with its verdant orchard garden where fruit-laden damson trees bowed a welcome, irises danced on the breeze and sweet-scented briars guarded the secret corners… in short, a poet’s delight. Judy had suggested we might like to visit the local Bache Camp, steeped in history and worth seeing so, with the sun still shining but low in the sky, we set off to walk to the Iron Age Hill Fort. The quiet lanes and tracks were lined with dog roses, elder flower, cow parsley and pink campion; sheep and cattle grazed peacefully in fields on either side. The view from the top was stunning; the steep fortifications in sharp relief were directly below us and Hay Bluff was plainly visible beyond the lengthening shadows. We stood quietly in awe of the beauty surrounding us. Nothing moved, not even a wisp of cloud. No one spoke; it was like a silent prayer. A flock (or murder) of crows suddenly broke the spell with their quarrelsome caw-cawing above us, cueing a chorus from cattle and sheep and the moment of magic had passed. Our little party of rambling poets turned around… with another special memory to take home. It was back to Judy’s for some light refreshment and a chance to browse her impressive collection of books, music and family artworks. We also found time to share a selection of poems, rounding off in our usual way. Our heartfelt thanks to Judy for arranging and hosting this enriching and enjoyable closing event of the season.


No meeting in August. New season opens on 4th September. Full programme, currently being prepared, will be available shortly.




June 2013

June’s mystery guest was Rapunzel Wizard, a professional performance poet who writes and performs his own work… HIS own work? Oh yes, Rapunzel Wizard is a man. Well the beard isn’t false and his hair… oh, his hair! Margaret, our coiffeuse in residence, was observed casting longing glances at the waist length braids, no doubt mentally restyling them into one of her famous updos.

 Rapunzel is based in Scotland and has a gig at the forthcoming Aberdeen Highland Games. He has also appeared at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Brighton Fringe Festival and Glastonbury. The Falcon Mews Poetry Room was not designed with action-packed performance poetry in mind but it was perfectly adequate for Rapunzel to let his legendary hair down and demonstrate his wonderful wizardry with words that just tripped off the tongue. His characters are OTT and the complementary gestures, immaculately timed for greatest effect, just have to be seen and preferably without blinking… to see him perform live in a true festival atmosphere must be a mind-blowing experience; to have seen just a fraction of his amazing talent was a privilege and we hope to invite him back to entertain us again sometime when his packed schedule allows. For more information about Rapunzel Wizard visit his website: www.rapunzelwizard.co.uk

 For our garden meeting on 3rd July, PfP member, Judy Malet has kindly invited us to her home near Pudlestone. If the weather is suitable, Judy has planned a poetic ramble but for those less inclined, interesting arts and books are available indoors. Bring a few nibbles and meet at the Falcon at 6.30pm where Judy will meet us to lead the way there.




May 2013

We are always pleased to welcome Bob Hughes to our group and in May he came to talk to us about American poets, some of whom were familiar to us and others we were hearing about for the first time. Bob opened the evening with a traditional poem by the evergreen Emily Dickinson, followed by a Robert Frost favourite, The Road Not Taken. We were amused by a poem by Karl Shapiro entitled Manhole Covers, not because it was particularly comical, but it is often said that a poem can be written on any subject and this one proved the point. Bob also included a political poem written at the time of the Vietnam War and Phenomenal Woman, by the popular feminist writer, Maya Angelou. Our thanks to Bob for presenting an interesting and varied evening; we look forward to your company again soon.


At our next meeting on 5th June, we are to be visited by a mystery guest… no one is allowed to know the name of this person before then, but we are permitted to mention a few clues: he or she comes fresh from a fairy tale, has hair to die (or dye) for and possibly resides in a tower. Who on earth…?



February 2013

Britain’s (and Bromyard’s own) renowned Tea Poet, Elizabeth Darcy Jones, had promised us something different for February’s meeting. Who is celebrated in February? Saint Valentine, of course, and Liz took great pleasure in metaphorically casting off her tea cosy hat and replacing it with a bonnet of love hearts. We were all provided with a card, simply adorned with a red heart and complete with envelope, and invited to write a short love poem to ourselves in the style of Journal Poetry. This is a genre in which our private, intimate thoughts are recorded, to be retrieved and read again whenever we wish. These quiet, introspective moments were in complete contrast to our customary sharing and reading aloud of our thoughts in verse but, inspired by a poem from the evergreen What Katy Did and a reading of Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s How Do I Love Thee? it had the effect of boosting self-esteem. If you are feeling under-valued, give it a try… it will raise your mood and cost you nothing. Sincere thanks to Elizabeth for enriching our evening with an unusual and very entertaining take on celebrating the feast day of the patron saint of love.


Arrangements are well under way with regard to the 2013Literary Festival and our next meeting on 6th March will be to finalise events and decide the winners of the Poetry Competition. The Literary Festival is an important event for our town, supporting local published authors (this year including PfP member, Shirley Whittall, whose recently published work will be available), and attracting visitors to the town from quite a wide radius. As a group we all have a hand in helping to make the festival a success, but special thanks are due to Margaret Dallow and Bryony Cullum for their hard work behind the scenes and their skills in planning and organising various events.


FINAL REMINDER TO ALL YOUNG POETS… There are still a few days left before closing date of our Young People’s Poetry Competition so if you have not yet entered, you have until 28th February. This year’s theme is A Story Told in a Poem. Entries, clearly marked ‘Poetry Competition’ may be left for collection at the Bromyard Centre. Age groups are: Up to and including 7 years; 8-11; 12-14; 15-18. Judging will take place early in March and the winners will be invited to read their work as part of Bromyard’s LiteraryFestival at the Falcon Hotel on Wednesday, 20th March.










FOUR AGE GROUPS: UP TO 7; 8-11; 12-14; 15-18

Further details can be obtained from your school

or Mrs B Cullum: 01568 760558

Our environment could include Our Countryside, our Cities, Our Country, Our Planet, The Family, or School,

The Life of Hedgehogs… or other ideas.




January 2013



What an interesting evening our first meeting of 2013 turned out to be. Our own Lawrence Randle talked to us about ‘poems that do not rhyme,’ explaining the use of other, more important qualities to produce a good poem. For some of us, myself included, the evening was as good as a poetry workshop, reminding us of the basics such as a pleasing rhythm or metre; repetition; alliteration and asonance (the collective sounds of words are often more memorable than rhyming); similes and metaphors… and not forgetting the colour and shape of words, including the technique known as concrete or shape poetry where the words form a visual image of the poem’s theme; (see lighthearted example: Pyramid, below.)



Lawrence had carefully chosen a number of widely known poems that defined non-rhyming poetry and invited each of us to read one and see if we could guess who wrote it. Between us, we managed to identify most of them, evidence that we can all improve our knowledge and have fun in the process. Thank you, Lawrence, for an inspiring and entertaining evening.

Next meeting 6 February with Britain’s Tea Poet, Elizabeth Darcy Jones and an inspiring mystery subject... why not come along and discover what she has in store?


A REMINDER TO ALL YOUNG POETS… The closing date for entries into our Young People’s Poetry Competition is 28th February so you still have plenty of time, but please don’t leave it too late. The theme for 2013 is A Story Told in a Poem. Entries, clearly marked ‘Poetry Competition’ may be left for collection at the Bromyard Centre. Age groups are: Up to and including 7 years; 8-11; 12-14; 15-18. Judging will take place early in March and the winners will be invited to read their work as part of Bromyard’s LiteraryFestival at the Falcon Hotel on Wednesday, 20th March 2013. Full Festival details available soon.







December 2012


Our ‘Christmas Crackers’ dinner took place on the coldest night of the winter so far, and the outside temperature was sub-zero as we began to arrive at the Falcon Hotel. The welcoming warmth of the Oak Room soon melted away our shivers and we settled down to enjoy our meal, followed by poetry readings, some festive, some not, but all contributing to a happy and most enjoyable occasion.


Sincere thanks to Margaret and Bryony for providing our ‘surprise’ gifts and to Sylvia and John and their team for the beautifully decorated table and for preparing and serving our three course dinner par excellence. The frost was sparkling in the moonlight when we left, but I know that each of us carried home that special warmth of a wonderful evening spent with friends.


At our next meeting, Lawrence Randle will explain to us ‘Why This Poem Does Not Rhyme.’ All will be revealed on 2nd January 2013…



CALLING ALL YOUNG POETS… The Christmas holiday is almost upon us and we hope you will find time during the festive break to devote some time to your entries for our annual Young People’s Poetry Competition. The theme for 2013 is A Story Told in a Poem and the closing date is 28th February. Entries, clearly marked ‘Poetry Competition’ may be left for collection at the Bromyard Centre. Age groups are: Up to and including 7 years; 8-11; 12-14; 15-18. Judging will take place early in March and the winners will be invited to read their entries during Bromyard’s Literary Festival at the Falcon Hotel on Wednesday, 20th March 2013. Festival details in next month’s OtR.





November 2012

For our November meeting, Barbara Stewart shared her interest in a lesser known, but prolific Welsh priest and poet, R S Thomas. Barbara had prepared a varied selection of his poems for us to read and discuss and we were impressed by his use of words – not one being thrown away or used carelessly, but chosen for greatest effect. He was an observer, inviting people into his world, and was awarded the Queen’s Medal for half a century of writing poetry. The evening revived a memory for one group member who had met and shaken hands with Thomas during the poet’s visit to the locality. Otherwise, few of us had heard of this Poet Thomas and we thank Barbara for broadening and enriching our knowledge.

It being the month of remembrance, we read and shared some old and new poems… ‘lest we forget.’

We are already preparing for the Young People’s Poetry Competition (Theme for 2013 – a story told in a poem) and the prize giving evening will kick off the Literary Festival which is also now in the planning stage.

We next meet on 5th December at the Falcon Hotel for our festive ‘Christmas Crackers’ get together. Don’t forget to bring a poem…



October 2012

In October we celebrated our tenth anniversary in the Falcon Mews where members and guests enjoyed an evening sharing a diverse selection of poetry, loosely based on the Desert Island theme, following a suggestion that we all contribute a favourite work by any poet and one that we had written ourselves. It had to be ‘loosely based’ because some bent the rules or broke them altogether, not that we were ‘unruly’ by any means... but then, there is that… what’s it called… poetic licence?

 Poetry for Pleasure came into being in 2002 when Josie Ann Dolan and Margaret Dallow, on the way home from a poetry event they had attended in Hereford, created the embryo of a poetry group in Bromyard. Just a few people were present at the birth, including Ron Rose and Dave Hubble, but word soon began to reach others who were like-minded and regular meetings continued. Ron is sadly no longer with us and we still feel the pain of losing Ann four years ago, but they live on through their poetry and some of their inspiring work was included, stirring fond memories for those present who were privileged to know them.

 Margaret, with her organisational skills and dogged determination (not to mention her powers of persuasion), is largely responsible for the continuing success of the group and was presented with a painting and a specially written poem to mark the occasion. Sylvia provided an excellent buffet, adding to the pleasures of a happy and most entertaining evening. Here’s to the next ten years!

 Our next meeting is 7th November when Barbara Stewart will share with us the life and works of R S Thomas, the Cardiff born poet and priest.


September 2012

We opened our new season on 5th September with a relaxed evening sharing poems, written by ourselves or ‘borrowed’ on a variety of subjects ranging from hop picking to a rather dubious, but entertaining tale of a duck in the afterlife! Long live the diversity of poetry, the art of painting with words…

It is the time of year when we notice a chill in the air as we leave our cosy room above the Falcon Mews but there is an enduring, welcoming warmth in our group that never fails to lift the spirits and is rekindled each time we meet. Poetry for Pleasure is ten years old in October and a modest celebration is being planned to mark the occasion. We are inviting poets, partners and friends to bring and read their ‘Desert Island’ poems – a favourite written by themselves and one they are fond of by another poet. There will be a light buffet and the occasion provides an excuse, if one is needed, to don our glad rags for the evening. The event will take place at the Falcon Hotel on 3rdOctober at 7.30. As yet we cannot confirm in which room, but we shall not be that difficult to find! Admission is £5 payable on the night. There will be the usual raffle and if anyone would like to donate a prize, it would be very much appreciated. The money raised by ‘Margaret’s Draws’ helps towards the prizes for our very popular Young People’s Poetry Competition. Next year’s theme is A Story Told in a Poem. Look out for further details coming soon.

 We have some interesting and talented speakers lined up for the 2012/13 season and full details can be found in our new programme, available now. Please phone Margaret or Val (contact numbers below) if you would like a copy.

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572



July 2012

We ended the season in July with our usual Garden Meeting and were warmly welcomed back to Bryony Cullum’s home in Stoke Prior. Last year, Bryony invited the group to share her lovely garden following some landscaping and building work, pointing out that there was still a fair bit she wanted to do. A year on, she has worked hard at further improving and transforming her home and immediate surroundings and we spent some time investigating delightful flower beds and borders brimming with glorious colour and wonderful fragrances. A thriving orchard has emerged from what Bryony described as a wilderness and, overlooking the rescue horses’ paddock was the new summerhouse, a poet’s paradise… and to die for.

The unsettled weather dictated that we read our poetry indoors this year. Sustained by a variety of delicious nibbles and drinks, we enjoyed a very happy and relaxed evening. Many thanks, Bryony, for lifting our spirits after yet another tedious day of rain.

 NO MEETING IN AUGUST. Next meeting on 5th September. New season’s programme will be available shortly. Please use contact details below if you would like a copy.

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: 01885 483767/483572


In Loving Memory

One early morning, some time ago

The sun peeped shyly through my window.

Its friendly smile strayed to the polished hall chair

and warmed the carpet at the foot of the stair.

As morning wore on, the yard was dusty to tread

By midday, full sunlight was high overhead.

The hot afternoon brought out honey bees,

just one lonely cloud rode the faint breeze.

Then cool, stretching shadows began to creep

as, closing the day, the sun slipped away,

leaving us contented and ready for sleep.


Today… well, it rained.

Yesterday… it rained.

Tomorrow… we know it will rain.

But, surely, one day… not too far away,

that elusive sun will kiss our faces again.

 VeeBee July 2012 (so far the wettest summer on record).




June 2012


Our subject for discussion in June was W H Auden. Born in York in 1907, he moved to the United States in 1939, subsequently becoming an American citizen, and died in Vienna in 1973. Dorothy Kennedy provided us with insightful glimpses of his life as a poet, essayist and lecturer who wrote his first poem at the age of thirteen. The third son of a physician, he studied at Christchurch College, Oxford, becoming prominent in the thirties having met up with Cecil Day-Lewis, Louis MacNeice and Stephen Spender. The four of them became known as the Auden Group. It was in 1930 that T S Eliot published Auden’s first collection of poems with Faber & Faber.


Many of his poems deal with love – the unrequited kind – reflecting his lifelong desire for a stable relationship that always eluded him, and one of Dorothy’s chosen poems was O Tell Me The Truth About Love which expressed his confusion and frustration. Two of his lovers were Christopher Isherwood, whom he first met at boarding school, and Chester Kallman, an American poet and librettist, but neither of these relationships were destined to be permanent.


A friendly but lonely man, he was perhaps born in the wrong era; one can’t help thinking that he would have been far more at ease in today’s environment… and more fulfilled. But his work remains popular and we couldn’t conclude without a reading of his famous Funeral Blues, made even more famous by the film, Three Weddings and a Funeral… Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone…


Many thanks, Dorothy, for sharing your knowledge and thoughts about Wystan Hugh Auden, whose life and work touched our hearts.


NEXT MEETING ON 4th JULY, our end of season Garden Meeting at Norman’s Farm, Stoke Bliss by kind invitation of Bryony Cullum. Anyone requiring a lift, please meet up in Falcon Car Park at 7.15 pm.




It was not meant to be…

an abdication was the key,

no thought was given to being Queen.

It wasn’t a foregone thing,

just a twist of fate

that Elizabeth was to reign,

bringing a second Elizabethan age.


Coronation day, breath-taking, beautiful,

dressed in crown and diamonds,

carried in a golden coach to the Abbey.

To me, just seven years old,

she was the quintessential queen…

a fairy tale, brought to life,

not to be believed.


In six decades

changes have happened thick and fast.

Women took centre stage,

three… the most recognizable in the world:

The Queen, Lady Diana, Margaret Thatcher.

One had no future,

changing the Royal Family for ever.


They move between their palaces and castles,

giving us a glimpse of their gilded existence,

demystifying their remote status,

making them more tangible to their people.


The propaganda machine does its thing…

the celebrations begin,

the people take the Queen to their hearts and minds,

coming out in their hundreds and thousands

to wish her well on this auspicious occasion.

A diamond jubilee –

only the second in our history.


Sixty years of dedication to our nation,

celebrating with a River Thames pageant,

rock concert, gun salutes, fireworks, Red Arrow flypast,

iconic spitfires… beacon blazing on the Malvern Hills!

It’s her people who make it work,

from Britain to the Commonwealth.

Out comes the red, white and blue bunting,

flags waving to the National Anthem.

We meet our friends, party, eat good food…

a togetherness between young and old.


We’ll raise our glasses,

‘Good Health, long may you reign,

our ever constant Queen.’


Jane Dallow



May 2012



We were pleased to welcome English teacher and thespian, Allan Flaxman, who raised our spirits with a few well-chosen lively lines, quickly dispelling the gloom of a soggy May evening. We began with a few nursery rhymes – usually a youngster’s first introduction to the world of verse and rhyme, but how could an innocent child possibly be aware of the hidden meanings/political propaganda that were present even in some of the very old and much loved rhymes such as Goosey, Goosey Gander (a religious horror story), Humpty Dumpty (an oversized but ineffective cannon that was mounted on the wall at St Mary’s Wall Church in Colchester), and even Ring a Ring a Roses, referring obliquely to the Black Death? Moving swiftly on, Allan’s excellent choices included a Pam Ayres’ classic, Sling Another Chair Leg on the Fire, Mother; a witty duologue, Hair Today, No Her Tomorrow by Brian Patten, and Jenny Joseph’s firm favourite,Warning, dealing with the eccentricities of old age and perhaps better known as When I am an Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple. His perfectly timed reading of Marriott Edgar’s The Lion and Albert completed a wide selection of nonsensical though perfectly crafted verse. Thanks, Allan, for a much needed tonic.


AT OUR NEXT MEETING ON 6th JUNE, we will explore the works of the Anglo-American poet, W H AUDEN with DOROTHY KENNEDY

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: 01885 483767/483572




On a Tired Housewife (Anon)

 Here lies a poor woman who was always tired,

she lived in a house where help wasn’t hired.

Her last words on earth were, ‘Dear Friends, I am going

to where there’s no cooking or washing or sewing,

for everything there is exact to my wishes,

for where they don’t eat, there’s no washing of dishes.

I’ll be where loud anthems will always be ringing

but having no voice, I’ll be quit of the singing.

Don’t mourn for me now, don’t mourn for me never,

I am going to do nothing for ever and ever.’


April 2012

A large number of us squeezed around the poetry table above Falcon Mews for our April meeting when Sylvia Silver shared with us her knowledge and thoughts about John Donne. Born in the reign of Elizabeth I and a contemporary of William Shakespeare, Donne was a leading metaphysical poet and was considered by some to be the greatest English language love poet. In 1601, after a colourful and adventurous youth, he secretly married Anne Moore, who bore him twelve children. His work was unpublished until after his death in 1631 and it was only much later that his brilliance began to be recognised. He studied law and later took holy orders in the Anglican church, going on to become Dean of St Paul’s. Sylvia read us a selection of this extraordinary man’s work, which clearly illustrated his ingenious use of intellectual and theological concepts. Our thanks to Sylvia for an enlightening and interesting evening.


AT OUR NEXT MEETING ON 2nd MAY, ALAN FLAXMAN will lift our spirits with some LIVELY LINES


Whistle Down the Wind by Jane Dallow


Trees swaying, sighing, bowing, bending;

leaves scattering, rustling, bustling

like hustlers hustling,

swirling, turning, lifting in the wind.



Children squealing, screaming, dancing, singing;

mothers shouting, hurrying, scurrying,

never doubting the madness of the wind.



March hares on hind legs, boxing,

eyes bulging with excitement

as the sap starts rising.

Mad March hares everywhere

running like the wind.



And the blackbird sits hidden

In the old oak tree…

whistling down the wind.







March 2012

http://www.bromyard.info/wordpress/plugins/editors/jce/tiny_mce/themes/advanced/skins/default/img/items.gif); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"> The 2012 Literary Festival was launched in style on the evening of 14th March, by the prize-winning poets in the Young People’s Poetry Competition. The event was started three years ago in memory of Josie Ann Dolan (nee Redfern) who was dedicated to sharing her love of the Arts with the community of Bromyard.

This year’s theme was ‘Celebrations’ and we received 176 entries from St Richards; St Peters; Bredenbury; Burley Gate; Pencombe and Stoke Prior Primary Schools and others, including Tenbury High School and the Bishop of Hereford’s Bluecoat School.


Poems were judged on their originality, sincerity and style. Some entries were untitled and others did not quite adhere to the celebratory theme, but all were considered and Poetry for Pleasure Group extend their heartfelt thanks to all the young people who entered. We very much enjoyed reading all your poems and were delighted to share in so many different celebrations. Thanks also to everyone who has helped with this project. We are very grateful for your support.


Special thanks go once again to Bryony Cullum who has worked so hard to organise this event and make it another resounding success.

The following prizewinners read their poems in the presence of their families and friends who packed the Falcon Hotel’s Oak Room. Thanks to Sylvia and John for providing and preparing the perfect setting and delicious interval refreshments..


Age 11-14: First: The Battle of Autumn and Spring by Tom Bradley

Second: Changes by Abigail Cunningham

Third: Harvest by Sally Lancaster


Age 8-11: First: My New Baby Sister by Leah Puttick

Second: The New Year by Hannah Lancaster

Third: Misha by Misha Mills

Highly Commended: Diamond by Jack Preece

Christmas by Will Bricknell

My Friend’s Wedding by Annabell Mackereth


Age 4-7: First: The Rainbow Party by Ellie Buckell

Second: Bonfire Night by Kirsty Meers

Third: Hop Skip and Jump by George Read.


Congratulations to you all.


NEXT MEETING 11TH APRIL: SYLVIA SILVER PRESENTS THE WORKS OF JOHN DONNE (please note this will be on the second Wednesday instead of the usual first Wednesday of the month.)

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: 01885 483767/483572



Young People’s Poetry Competition 2012

(This year’s theme: Celebration)


Prize winning entries


Age group 7 years and under:


First prize:

The First Rainbow Party by Ellie Buckell

Red is the first colour

We see in the sky

“A rainbow!”

The people shout.


In the rain and the sun a rainbow appears

New things to do, let’s party!

Brilliant rainbow party

Rainbow cakes, coloured ribbons.


Oh, we’re having such a good time


People start to count the colours,


Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet

Seven colours in a rainbow,

The ribbons start to flow,

Blowing in the cool breeze.



Second prize:

Bonfire Night by Kirsty Meers

Bang! Pop!

On the Spot.

Now it’s time for the fun,

Fireworks come and down goes the sun.

Inside, the animals hide.

Razzling and dazzling


Nearly home time,

I feel tired,

Get home quick.

Happy Bonfire Night,

Time for bed zzzz.






Third Prize:

Hop Skip and Jump by George Read

Hop, skip, jump,

Hop, skip, jump.

Out on my walk

I spy baby lambs.

I wonder what they would say

If they could talk?


It’s lovely and warm.

The sun is shining.

Would they take cover

If we had a storm?


Chasing each other around,

Are they playing Chase or Tag?

It’s how we play at school

And what a noisy sound!


Sadly, it’s time to move on;

What a treat to have seen

The lambs having fun.

Will they notice I have gone?



Age group 8-11 years

First prize:

My New Baby Sister by Leah Puttick

I came back from school and you know what I saw?

A baby lay there, she was ah, so cute.

She was dressed from head to toe, you know,

You know she was dressed in pink and blue.

She had dark brown hair but I don’t care

Because she is too cute, too cute.

Let’s celebrate my new baby sister,

Yahoo, yahoo, yahoo!

She had her first bath when she was nine days and a half

And she smelt so cute, so cute.

Let’s celebrate, everybody

Because my new baby sister’s in town.

I touched her ears and she started her tears

And she screamed the whole night through!

Sleep, little Maizie, sleep.


Second Prize:

The New Year by Hannah Lancaster

The last day of the year is already here,

Days just seem to disappear,

Ready to have some fun

With friends, family,


One minute to go, I just can’t wait,

It’s going to be just so absolutely great!

Now only less than a minute to go,

The room is lit up with an orange glow,

The clocks are ticking and 5,4,3,2,1


The New Year is here,

Let’s all clap and cheer.

Have some food and a drink or two,

Let’s celebrate, yes me and you,

A good year has gone but a better has come,

Some memories may be glum but this year

You can spend them with your best chum.

Lots of things to look forward to,

Christmas, Easter, I love them, don’t you?


Third Prize:

Misha by Misha Mills


Beautiful, giggly, ticklish, friendly

Sibling of Jacob,

Lover of her toys,

Who fears loud noises,

Who needs lots of cuddles

Who gives kisses,

Who would like to see snow,




Highly Commended:

Diamond by Jack Preece

Shiny diamond

Shining bright, really bumpy,

Rolling through, bumping around, going up

Shiny, rough, in a box with a key

Rolling around, up and down, bumping through

Rough, smooth

Treasure in a box.



Christmas by Will Bricknell

I really love this celebration,

It’s such a lovely time,

It’s lit with candles for decoration

And the adults all drink wine.


On Christmas Eve you’re so excited,

You need to buy a tree,

Then one day later you’re united

With friends and family.


Leave out a carrot and some beer

For Rudolph with nose so red,

Because Santa and that amazing deer

Deliver presents while I’m in bed.


Cross your fingers, it may just snow,

If so, we’ll all be jolly.

The house is covered with mistletoe

And sometimes fresh green holly.


At Christmas you’re kept warm and cosy

Because of crackling fires.

Don’t peek at your presents, that’s just nosy,

Those socks you must admire!!


Turkey, stuffing and Christmas cake,

Sweets, chocolates and mince pies.

All these things we love to make,

Christmas is a great surprise.



My Friend’s Wedding by Annabel Mackareth

Ding Dong,

The church bells chime.

The bride walks in

All lovely and slim.

The groom is waiting

Because they’ve been dating

What seems like a very long time.

The bridesmaids in blue

Who can’t wait for the cake,

“Get on with it!” they cry,

“For Goodness’ sake.”

The flowers smell lovely,

What a beautiful scent.

The marquee looks amazing

For a great big tent.

Time for the disco

With dancing all night.

The balloons and lights

Are a fantastic sight.

So what a nice wedding

That ends with everyone singing

Hip, hip, hooray

For the bride and groom.

Hip, hip, hooray

For the bridesmaids, too!



Age group 12-14 years:

First prize:

The Battle of Autumn and Spring by Tom Bradley

The onslaught comes again,

The King of the Sun is falling,

The frosts are arising from whence they came,

The warm breezes have been captured,

The rain is trying to ask for the brook’s help,

But the messengers are blown to pieces in

The ‘scape of deadly ice.

One last surge, and Frosts are the rulers of all.


It is Winter.


Over the Winter the King of the Sun has

Formed a plan and an army; he smites

The snow and brings the Waters’ souls back

To themselves; the banks are overrun by

The cavalry and brooks break their

Bonds as the brothers unite.

The lakes are freed, their shackles shattered.

The King of the Sun is returning,

The Frosts are falling back to whence they came.


The dragon of the Sun flies into

Battle himself, and slaughters the last

Of the Frosts with an almighty roar

Of the water, brooks, lakes and Sun;

And the King of the Sun is ruler of all,

But the Frosts, the dreaded Frosts,

Scream, “We’ll be back! Next year,

But with an unstoppable army!


And Summer reigns, for now.



Second prize:

Changes by Abigail Cunningham

Snow bent boughs

Echo as they snap in the wilderness.

Silent sparrows

Shiver and stare.

The chimney puffs continuously

Like a steam train.


The minutes become hours,

Slowly passing peacefully,

My path a scattered coat of snow.

It looks like a never-ending road,

Trees branches grasping freedom.


Fleecy flakes lie on my coat,

Then falling, creating cold cotton wool.

The owls hooting their famous song,

Making a shiver down my icy spine.

Leaves dance before me

Like mice chasing their tails.

The stars glow, blushing proudly,

The moon leading my way.

A robin follows me silently.


Then it changes!


The spring sun then reflects off my skin,

Taking away my breath.

The spring flowers suddenly appear

With cheery faces.

The stream is pure and full of life,

All the birds shout their songs.

Eating the revealed fresh food

While they have the chance.


The hedges show their green shoots

And every tree copies

New life and beginning every year!


Third prize:

Harvest by Sally Lancaster

Dare I remember

Last September

When Harvest took place at Saint Paul’s?

The pupils from Clong

Got everything wrong

And ended up looking like fools.


First of all

Michael Small

Ran down the aisle and tripped.

Then Samuel Bran

http://www.bromyard.info/wordpress/plugins/editors/jce/tiny_mce/themes/advanced/skins/default/img/items.gif); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;"> Put down a can

And his school trousers ripped.


Ten minutes in

During the hymn

Carol Brown picked her nose.

The bogey she picked

Was dutifully flicked

Onto the vicar’s clothes.


To top it all off,

Mrs McCough

Fell asleep in the prayer.

Then Charlotte Crow

Had let one go

So everyone went out for air.


So smells and rips,

Bogeys and trips

Made something really clear.

That in fact

After all that,

I don’t think I’ll go next year!




January 2012

With rain beating against the windows, aided and abetted by the January gales, our group gathered in the warmth of the Poets’ Room anticipating a rare treat. We were celebrating Burns Night early and who better to Address the (imaginary) Haggis than Bromyard’s popular art teacher, Alfred Mann…himself a Scot and familiar with the works of the Scottish Bard?

We were not disappointed; far from it. Painting and poetry are closely linked and, away from the Art Teacher Studios,** Alfred dispensed with his palette and brushes and, in good strong voice, with a twinkle in his eye, re-created the 18th century magic with a rich, authentic accent, at times with a sharpened edge and then softening, according to the sentiment. Thoughtfully, enabling us to keep up, he had provided us Sassenachs with written translations of the Haggis poem and others such as The Louse and, of course, the Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie…

Alfred concluded with a featured poem by Liz Lochhead (Scotland’s ‘Makar’ or Laureate) and a verse or two of his own composition… a man of many talents. Our sincere thanks to Alfred for a most entertaining and uplifting evening… and, in case you were wondering, he did not wear traditional highland dress, so we are still unable to answer that question!


Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own.We next meet on 1st February – Strictly Between Ourselves  but, as always, all poetry lovers are welcome to join us. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572.


May we again remind YOUNG POETS that entries for our annual competition must be with us by 29th February. This year’s theme: Celebration.


**If anyone is interested in attending Alfred’s popular art classes, he can be found in person at The Art Teacher Studio in Room 5 at The Council Offices, Rowberry Street or contact him by telephone on 07778 326028 (studio number) or 01885 488938; online at www.theartteacher.info or The Art Teacher Studios Group on facebook. He runs classes to suit every ability, at affordable rates, and good coffee is provided free.

He can help you to ‘find the artist within’ and may even read you a poem if you ask him!






Shallow pools of cold north light

wash the space

where last night’s model lay

stretched in sensuous pose

draped against ripe peach folds of velvet…

smooth relief from dust dead boards.

His form sketched loosely

sits in waiting on the easel

partly clothed by Joseph’s coat

hastily cast.


Tools of trade swarm the hefty hardwood bench.

Gluey pots and jars; rags that once were haute couture.

Part-filled tubes abandoned in mid-squeeze

rainbow palette shining out

among unruly ranks of round sable

filbert hog and stiff bristle

each one brushing up against another.


Linseed and turps laced into

the stale wine of still life

hang heavy. Airless.

Yet these four pallid walls

contain a tingling vibrancy…

raw creative energy

that powers the genius

driven apart from worldspin

oblivious to surroundings

and time. Imprisoned

in visions.



Discerning of eye

sensitive and sure the hand

that crafts the canvas into being

to breathe…

and speak pure poetry.

Bold and loud it strikes alive

the senses, draws the spirits high

above the sky.

Or with surreal subtle strokes

whispers soft pillows for the soul.




December 2011


The dinner table was almost a poem in itself with its glass and silverware gleaming symmetrically in the soft lights of the candelabra. With one simultaneous BANG, the crackers dispensed corny jokes and fancy hats and our Seasonal Supper with Snippets was under way.

Following a mouth-watering meal of generous portions, we sat back and shared our favourite Christmas verses, completing a very happy evening in congenial company within the relaxing glow of the Falcon’s Oak Room. It was late when the last of us left, and temperatures were close to freezing beneath the moonlit sky, but the warmth of the occasion will remain in our memories for some time.

Heartfelt thanks to Margaret and Bryony who had been working behind the scenes to provide those extra little touches that make our events so special and also to Sylvia and her staff for providing both food and service of the highest quality.

We next meet on 4th January 2012 when local artist from the Art Teacher Studios, Alfred Mann, will be reading work by his fellow countryman, Robert Burns. Will he be addressing the Haggis? Very possibly. In Highland dress? Who knows… but one thing is certain, it will be a lively, very jolly evening. Do come and join us if you can.

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572.



YOUNG POETS out there… we hope you are now working hard on your entries for our annual Young People’s Poetry Competition. Remember, this year’s theme is A Celebration and the closing date is 29th February. Entries, clearly marked ‘Poetry Competition’ may be left for collection at the Bromyard Centre. Judging will take place early in March and the winners will be invited to read their entries during the Spring Festival later that month.





November 2011


Our November meeting was almost a case of standing room only again, but we all squeezed in snugly to listen to our guest speaker, Fay Wentworth. Fay, from Leominster, is a published writer and told us how she decided at a very young age that she was going to be a writer and even remembered the first short story she wrote, aged eleven, involving a rabbit who ran away from home and came to grief – a kind of Beatrix Potter tale with a tragic twist! Later on, Fay married and raised her family and as her children were growing up, she wrote a number of stories for an RSPCA magazine in her spare time. These were accepted and, spurred on, she then began to branch out into romances and ghost stories. The rest is history. Today, writing is still her passion and she now writes mainly for women’s magazines. She has recently published Destiny’s Footprints, a collection of intriguing short stories, from which she read Cake Comfort.

Fay explained the process of producing published work, stressing that any hopeful magazine contributor must first research the magazines they wish to target, obtain their submission guidelines and comply exactly with their requirements. This is very important, bearing in mind that overworked and stressed editors are inundated with hundreds of submissions every week

Although she does not write poetry herself, Fay is fond of the genre and recognizes it as an important and popular feature of modern creative writing; poets also tell stories, sometimes in rhyme, often not, but have more freedom in their use of words. Anyway, we needed no encouragement to regale her with some of our own work – it would have seemed rude not to!

As always in November, we remembered the fallen of wars past and present in verse, and our own beloved Nonny James, accompanying herself on guitar, rounded off the evening by singing a haunting, very moving rendition of Flanders Fields.

‘Margarets Draws’ prize went to Shirley Whittall, while Margaret herself thoroughly enjoyed bringing us all ‘to order’ with her new block and gavel, beautifully turned in Ash and specially made by talented group member, John Elmes.

We next meet on 7th December in the Falcon’s Oak Room for our Seasonal Supper with Snippets… don’t dare turn up without a Snippet!!


Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572.





Our annual Young People’s Poetry Competition is getting under way and our theme for 2012 is A Celebration. Share your thoughts about the joy of a special event, whether it be Christmas, the London Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee or perhaps your own birthday. Entries, clearly marked ‘Poetry Competition’ may be left for collection at the Bromyard Centre. Closing date is 29 February. Full details in next month’s OtR. Have fun… we look forward to reading and judging your entries.



© John Elmes


Hazels were heavily laden with ripening nuts,

the blue sky was cloudless, with no sign of rain.

Thorny briars in the hedgerow guarded their fruit,

the village lay expectant, it was September again.


Behind high hawthorn hedges, lay forests of green

supported by a framework of poles and wires;

the hop yards of Herefordshire, quiet and serene,

awaiting the pickers, from all those faraway shires.


The village and farms on that dew-laden morning,

just a cold bite in the air, with frost not far away,

the sun’s rays evaporating the mists of the dawning,

a typical hop picker, so the old folk would say.


The farms made ready, their barns all whitewashed

with plenty of clean straw for the mattresses to fill.

The lanes soon to echo with the lilt of Welsh voices,

brightly painted gypsy caravans coming over the hill.


Not for the Romanies, white-washed farm buildings,

but a field by the brook where they’d light a camp fire

with the smell of their cook pot teasing the nostrils,

told stories and legends, of which they’d never tire.


The village rang with the Black Country dialogue;

everything was ‘bostin’ as they left from their coach.

The old village store, packed tight with provisions,

signs to say pilferers would get an instant reproach.


The bewhiskered landlord of the half timbered tavern

had filled up his cool cellar with rough cider and beer,

with extra tables and chairs in the tap room and bar

raising prices by a halfpenny at this time of the year.


September has come again, the hop picking has started.

Gypsies will fall out with the tally man, they do every year.

The Welsh girls will sing, and find a new boyfriend,

Black Country folk query why everything is so dear.


In just a few weeks all the hard work will be over,

the hops will be dried and the pickers will have gone

back to the Welsh valleys, the Black Country factories,

Gypsies deep in the forest until the winter’s moved on.



October 2011

All our guest speakers are special, be they group members sharing their passion for a particular poet’s work, distinguished professors or published poets, but every now and again the evening is extra special and our October meeting fell into that category. We were delighted to welcome Britain’s only Tea Poet (now resident in Bromyard), Elizabeth Darcy Jones, who not only explained the history of our national beverage but also introduced us to blends and varieties that most of us had never heard of. When she began to read her poems, with barely a glance at the printed page (how did she do that?) we drank in every delicious word.

Elizabeth pours her brimming kettle of knowledge over her personal blend of natural wit and humour and the resulting, refreshing brews have unique and pleasing tastes. One or two have a mere sprinkling of sugar and others are cooled with the milk of irony; a chunky mug is fine for some, but others require the subtlety and grace of bone china. And whatever your taste in tea, whether you blow on it, slurp it hot, or crook your little finger, there is a flavour to please everyone. From white Bai Mu Dan and the celebrated Earl Grey to Red Lychee and Black Vanilla, they can all be sampled in Distinguished Leaves, Elizabeth’s newly published collection of poems for tea lovers, with a foreword by the smooth and mellow Nigel Havers. To discover more about Elizabeth and her work, visit her website: teapoet.com where you will find a wealth of information.

Our heartfelt thanks to Elizabeth for finding time in her hectic schedule to come and share her poetry with us in a most en-tea-taining way. We are looking forward to seeing you again soon.


Bryony Cullum won ‘Margaret’s Draws’ this month. Congratulations, Bryony, and our thanks also for presiding over the meeting in the absence of Margaret Dallow, who was unfortunately under the weather. We all missed you, Margaret, and with one voice wish you a speedy and full recovery…


Our next meeting will be 2nd November, when local professional writer, Fay Wentworth, author of Destiny’s Footprints, will be talking to us about creative writing.

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572





Jane Dallow



The kettle starting to bubble on the fire,

old brown teapot to the side

of the black leaded grate,

lid off, ready for the bubbling water.


One, two, three and one for the pot,

boiling water poured over

the lovely aromatic tea leaves.


Snow white table cloth

showing off the blue and white china;

four cups, four saucers,

a plate of buttery, sugary biscuits



The tea is poured through the silver strainer

into the blue and white cups.

Not a word is spoken,

only to ask, ‘Sugar?’ ‘Milk?’


We lean back in our chairs,

sip our tea, nibble our way

around the edges of the biscuits,

making them last as long as possible.


Silence is broken…


‘Another cup, anyone?’

We push our cups forward,

take another biscuit,

stare into the red and white coals in the grate,

listen to the loud ticking of the clock,

hear the sound of birdsong through the open door.

Relax… All is well with the world.



September 2011


Fourteen of us met in the Falcon Mews Poetry Room to open our new season and Shirley Whittall entertained us for the first half of the evening by reading us a selection of her work. Shirley is very versatile and often reduces us to tears… usually of laughter, but she knows how to tug at the heartstrings as well.

She is also prolific but for those of us who are not, she produced a list of subjects as a source of inspiration and to help us to overcome ‘Writers’ Block.’ Blaming ‘the man from Porlock’ as Coleridge once did, is no longer an acceptable excuse and now that we have a total of twenty set themes to choose from, we simply have no excuse at all. So come on, fellow poets, let’s all try really hard to produce something new for next month!

We are already making plans for next year’s Young People’s Poetry Competition and in order to give our funds a boost to help support this popular event, Margaret (Dallow) has introduced a members’ raffle. So, please…

Let’s have your prizes for Margaret’s Draws,

Remember, it’s all in a very good cause!

After coffee, as always, we shared our own work and that of other poets from whom we take inspiration as well as the pleasure of the moment. Much-loved local musician, Nonny James, came along with guitar (always a good sign) and as well as reading us a poem of her own, gave us an extra treat by then singing a beautiful version of I Wandered by a Brookside, believed to have been written by an Oxford poet circa 1850 and set to music by Barbara Berry in the 1980’s.

The evening was a very uplifting start to what promises to be another rewarding year. We have some interesting and talented speakers lined up. Details in our new programme, available now. Please phone Margaret or Val (contact numbers below) if you would like a copy.

We now meet on the first Wednesday of the month, and on 5th October, Britain’s celebrated and published Tea Poet, Elizabeth Darcy Jones, will be pouring us a poetical cuppa. Do come and join us, and bring your friends.

Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the first Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: Margaret: 01885 483767 or Val: 01885 483572




June 2011

 This year’s Spring Festival opened on 25th May with the prize giving and reading of the winning entries of our very popular Young People’s Poetry Competition. The Oak Room of the Falcon Hotel was packed to capacity with proud parents, grandparents and friends. It was a delightful evening and the enthusiastic, happy mood was infectious. Once again, thanks to all who took part in this event and special thanks to Bryony Cullum who organised it.

On 27th May, Gordon White and the Broken Brothers provided good humoured music and entertainment interspersed with poetic offerings from members of Poetry For Pleasure. The Falcon ballroom was the perfect venue and the two-course ploughman’s supper was excellent, as always.

Seven local published authors occupied the Falcon lounge on the Saturday and talked about their work, signing copies of their books for those who prefer the written rather than the spoken word. It was good to welcome them all and we wish them continued success. Thanks to Margaret Dallow for her efforts in securing the authors and overseeing the preparations.

On Saturday evening in the Falcon Mews, Nonny James sang tracks from her great new album, Natural Woman, celebrating the songwriting talents of women, including Carole King, Joni Mitchell and Nina Simone. Nonny chose the numbers for their inspirational words and delivered them in her own charismatic style. A wonderfully uplifting evening in good company.

The Oak Room provided the setting for the Literary Lunch when guest speaker, Brian Viner, talked a little about his work as a sports journalist and read out amusing excerpts from his books on the subject of moving to rural Herefordshire from London. Some culture shock? But he has lived happily in the locality for several years now so we must be doing something right!

Bromyard’s Spring Festival may not have been on a scale to compete with Hay-on-Wye, but we can and do claim success with all the events. Sylvia Silver has again made a tremendous contribution to the festival and we do thank her for her ceaseless efforts in promoting our town and celebrating the many talents of its residents.

* * * * *

At our June meeting, Poetry for Pleasure warmly welcomed Peter Holliday back to the fold after his recent illness. Peter led a discussion on the poems of Thomas Hardy, better known to most as a writer of novels, Far From The Madding Crowd probably being his best known work. However, he also wrote almost a thousand poems and Peter very astutely selected just nine of them which perfectly illustrated Hardy’s gentle satire and use of words, often making up a word of his own when no other seemed to quite fit. Simply expressed yet powerful, his poems are treasures… a tonic for the mind. Our thanks to Peter for a very special evening.


Poetry for Pleasure group meets on the second Wednesday of the month at 8pm in the Poetry Room at Falcon Mews, to explore the work of others and create and share our own. All welcome. Contacts: 01885 483767/483572



May 2011

Children’s Poetry Competition 2011. Once again, the standard of entries confirmed that our local young people are indeed talented and certainly gave the judges a hard time choosing the winners. Very many thanks to all who entered; we are only sorry it is not possible to give prizes to you all. Results:

Age Group 14-18:

 One winner, Jacob Howell, with his poem, My Brother Dan

 Age Group 11-14:

 First prize: Amy Layton, The Baker

 Second (tied): Ted Weston, Poem and Alex Wilson, Somewhere In The Mud

 Third: Isla Waterson, She’s Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go

 Age Group 9-10:

 First Prize: Hannah Lancaster, Farmer Joe

 Second: Natalya Wolloshin, She Will Be There

 Third: Chloe Beddows, My Best Friend

 Age Group 8 and under:

 First Prize: Holly Lloyd, Joanne Storer

 Second: Freya Alice Simpson, My Special Yummy Friend

 Third: Alex Evans, Jacob Smith

 Highly Commended certificates were also awarded

 Once again, the standard of entries confirmed that our local young people are indeed talented and certainly gave the judges a hard time choosing the winners. Very many thanks to all who entered; we are only sorry it is not possible to give prizes to you all.

 Prize giving and reading of winning poems took place on 25th May at the Falcon Hotel - read about the prizegiving and also read all the poems here

 We are indebted to Bryony Cullum who has worked extremely hard to make this project such a success for all concerned. Many thanks, Bryony; your efforts are much appreciated.

 Do come and join Poetry for Pleasure Group on Friday, 27th May for Humorous Poems and a Ploughman’s Supper with Gordon White, the Broken Brothers and your very own local poets … 8pm Falcon Ballroom… tickets £8



April 2011

Who has not heard of Rudyard Kipling the poet and his universally acclaimed poem, IF? Regarded as the People’s Laureate and Poet of the Empire, he was considered by his peers to be a genius. A popular and famous figure, he was very modest about his achievements and declined a Knighthood as well as the honour of being Poet Laureate, although he did accept the Nobel Prize for literature. Dorothy Kennedy shared with us her extensive knowledge on the man everyone must have heard of, and a most absorbing hour was spent learning more about Kipling the man and looking more closely at some of his lesser publicised works.

And here’s another interesting fact: did you know he was called Rudyard after a lake in Staffordshire? Our thanks to Dorothy for a most enlightening and enjoyable evening and, please indulge me, for I cannot resist this… it really was ‘exceedingly good.’

The Young People’s Poetry Competition has attracted 135 entries and judging is now under way. Prize giving to take place on Wednesday evening, 25th May at 7.30, and please join us on Friday evening, 27th May at 8pm for some Humorous Poetry and a Ploughman’s. All at Falcon Mews.

Finally, our best wishes go to Peter Holliday, a popular and valued group member who is currently recovering from surgery… get well soon, Peter, we miss you.



March 2011

A pleasant evening was spent reading and discussing more of our own work which ranged from a beautiful poetic eulogy to a tongue in cheek rant at yellow ‘Danger of Death’ notices being affixed to local electricity poles and, in our present financially squeezed economy, requiring three men with three powerful Land Rovers to do it! But as any poet will tell you, there’s always a verse or two to be squeezed out of any subject…

The varied collection of poetry books made redundant by the closure of the Honey Pot is now happily settled in its new home in our library in Ann’s Chest. Thank you, Mary, many treasures there.

At the time of writing, entries are coming in for the Young People’s Poetry Competition and the judges again look like facing a difficult task to select the winning entries. If you have not already done so, please make sure your entries are with Mrs Bryony Cullum (01568 760558) by 10th April.

Prizes will be awarded to the winners on Wednesday, 25th May as part of our contribution to the Bromyard Spring Festival. On Friday, 27th May, there will be a Humorous Poems and Ploughman’s evening in the presence of the Falcon Hotel’s own poet in residence. On Saturday morning, local authors, including our own Fred Clark and Worcestershire-based Sarah James, will be available for book signings and the guest speaker at this year’s literary lunch on Sunday, 29th May will be journalist and playwright, Brian Viner. More details to follow next month.

Our 13th April meeting will feature the life and work of Rudyard Kipling with Dorothy Kennedy.



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