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The longing of Judith Kerr ~ a poem from Vic Pickup

The longing of Judith Kerr

What if you could give them back
their hats, coats, scarves? Place
a knitted glove onto each small hand.
Return their hair to them, for plaiting
and to entwine daisy chains made
in the meadow amongst the soft buzz
of furry bees. Pull out of the sack the
toy train, hand-carved, and old bear,
a travelling companion − exactly the one,
with a bright blue bow around his neck
frayed from feeling too much love.
Put them all back into the right hands.
Find the shoes, a perfect pair, buckle
the feet, all tucked up in woollen socks.
Fill their cheeks until red and ruddy, make
rounded tums and dimpled legs, scatter
freckles on faces with the touch of summer.
Then place in one gloved hand another,
bigger, a mother. Give them back a father
too, smiling down as button eyes look up
to find his in the glare of the setting sun.
Grasp that hand and step back on board
the train, this one with red velour seats
and a warm welcome from the lady
with the trolley, who offers jelly sweets
and apples and a story book,
about a tiger who came to tea.

Vic Pickup

Vic Pickup is a previous winner of the Café Writers competition and was recently shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruth competition. In 2018, Vic co-founded the Inkpot Writer’s Group in Eversley where she lives with her husband and three children.

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Two poems by Susan Utting

Two poems by Susan Utting, both inspired by workshops at Reading Museum, led by Adrian Blamires and Lesley Saunders, the first at the “Oscar Wilde As Critic” exhibition, and the second a workshop looking at medieval artworks in the Museum, in this case the Bayeux Tapestry.

The Value of Nothing

“Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer”

Oscar Wilde: The Critic as Artist

 

The girl who stares into space is on detention, again,

for insubordination.

For insubordination read

daydreaming, that other world reached quietly by

means of dust-mote moving staircases, by way of

silences.

For silences read dumb ignorance, read

indolence, read downright insolence; by means of helter-

skelter slides through city-dirt-encrusted windows, across

playground tarmac, over regulation iron railings, over

pavements, along gutters,

(for gutters read star-gazers’ resting places)

down alleyways and entries, down muddy lanes to tree places,

up tree trunks, through the scratch of branches, slap of rain-

bedraggled leaves, up-up-away and through to where they know

the value of the nothing in her head:

that painted place that zigzags,

coils and skitters her to other lands, to anywhere she fancies,

where they know the priceless,

fiery possibilities of indolence.

 

 

The Ladies of the Leek Embroidery Society Copy the Bayeux Tapestry

 

Miss Edith Wardle, Miss Frost of Derby, Mrs C Gwynne, Miss Gater

 

Our fingertips bear witness to our labour, our thimble

fingers wither, pale beneath their metal caps. Poor, dear

Elizabeth has grown quite thin, round-backed from stooping

for The Ride to Bosham, and Phoebe’s wrists grew stiff when

Harold Sailed the Sea – the tedium of all those waves,

stem-stitchery in scalloped flourish after flourish!

 

Miss Gillett of Garfield, Miss F Pattinson, Mrs Watson, Miss Parker

 

We envied Mary Edith, though it was a stretch, as she

worked her magic on the comet, that miracle in the sky

for which her long back pained her for weeks beyond

the final knot and bitten yarn. Emily’s huddled witnesses

stared up amazed at what she’d made. Day after long day

we embroidered on, couch stitch, stem stitch, myth and men,

 

Miss Turnock, Miss Bentley, Mrs Worthington, Mrs Charles Smith

 

horse and great ship, cock and raven, hawk and bow and arrow,

broidered canopy, broad shield, legend, history. We have sewn

ourselves into the woof and warp of cloth, thread by thread

picked up precisely till, spellbound by our own crafting,

our needlepoints have made a chain, a sisterhood that holds us

here: read our names, these are our stories. Read us here.

 

Miss Clowes, Miss Lunn, Miss Garside, Miss A Allen, Mrs Iliffe …

SUSAN UTTING was born in South London, moved twenty times in forty years, then settled, after a fashion, in Berkshire. Her collections of poetry include Half the Human Race, Striptease, Houses Without Walls and Fair’s Fair.

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Robin ~ a poem from Elissa Zacher

ROBIN
round robin, red robin
resting in dignity
round robin, red robin
on a branch of a birch tree
round robin, red robin
whistling into the wind
round robin, red robin
singing of spring
Poem by Elissa Zacher
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Come to our 25th birthday party! 30 November 2019

On Saturday 30th November, from 4pm until 10pm, we will having a party to celebrate 25 Years of Two Rivers Press publishing and to launch our new book, ‘The Art of Peter Hay‘.

We have booked the Waterside Centre’s upstairs room which overlooks the river as it’s the closest place to ‘where two rivers meet’ that we could find. There’s a great view from the balcony, although given that it will be nearly mid winter, it will be rather dark… But inside it will be warm, convivial and cheerful! We hope you can join us.

The Wokingham Waterside Centre is at the end of the A329M just on the edge of town at Thames Valley Park, Reading, RG6 1PQ. There is parking available at the centre or on the adjacent Thames Valley Park Drive (free at weekends).

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Celebrating two recent poetry collections

Come and listen to our recently published poetry! Conor Carville and James Peake will read from ‘English Martyrs’ and ‘Reaction Time of Glass’ respectively (both published this autumn) and Peter Robinson will also be reading from ‘Bonjour Mr Inshaw’ (officially published in Jan 2020 but advance copies will be available). Next Thurday – 21st November, 6.30pm in London.

Carville_Peake invitation