Perfugium Miseris

Apparently this weekend is ‘International Lighthouse and Lightship Weekend.’  As a result of which I had the pleasure of attending a talk yesterday on Ramsgate Lighthouse (and many other Lighthouse and Lightship tales) at the Sailors’ Church.  Ted Borley is an absolute mine of information – I’d recommend a visit to Ramsgate Maritime Museum where his amazing knowledge of the exhibits on display certainly brings history to life.

The current Ramsgate Lighthouse – dating from 1842 – marks the seaward entrance to our wonderful harbour. There’s an inscription around the base – ‘Perfugium Miseris’ – indicative of this lighthouse’s very real role lighting out the passage to safe refuge from sea-spite, swell, and gale.

Ramsgate Lighthouse

 

Ramsgate Seadog

Truly stunning setting yesterday for sharing some of The Seadog Stanzas at the Sailors’ Church, Ramsgate.  Ramsgate Festival is in full swing here, the sun is out (and in) but mostly out – and the first ever Ramsgate Seadog Festival to boot. Life is good.

If you do get the chance you MUST go and see the amazing art work by Stacey Chapman (Art Sea Craft Sea) and Emily Tull – their FishFace2 is a wonderful collection.

 

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Tools for Solidarity Poetry Competition Shortlist

Tools for Solidarity Poetry Competition 2017

I was absolutely thrilled to make it on to the Shortlist for this competition.

Just 5 of us Poet’s in the final shortlist, and what amazing company to keep indeed, an honour to see my poem alongside work by these fine poets.

A privilege indeed to see my poetry be put to such good use in the promotion of such a worthwhile cause.

Walpole Bay Tidal Pool – 80th Birthday

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What a lovely idea to celebrate the ‘birthday’ of this much-loved local spot. Like so many before, and after, I’ve spent many a joyful time there.

     The children pointed.
    “Crabs. Crabs!” we said,
     gesturing
     as they chanted
     “Please, please!”
     stretching out uncertain fingers,
      juggling new treasure.

My poem ‘Hermit Crabs at Cliftonville, 1998’ was inspired by a walk by the pool, and a meeting there with a family from Kosovo.  The children were especially delighted by the crabs that we could see in the shallows. These are images that have stayed in my mind, and it’s a poem I read often locally when I’m performing my poetry here in Thanet. Hopefully it’s as a way of showing some of the more recent ‘waves’ of migrants to our beautiful corner – and my way of saying that I am proud to welcome them, and to celebrate their place in Walpole Bay Tidal Pool’s 80 years-young history.

 

A Tale of Two Cities..

So, it’s Broadstairs Dickens Festival week here. (the 80th anniversary thereof!)  The week every year when folk take to the streets and cliffs and beach of Broadstairs in ‘Dickensian’ apparel, celebrating Mr Dickens’ time in the town.

One cannot help but surmise what Charles might have made and said of the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, June 2017.  I have no words for Grenfell Tower yet. But as people ‘Trotwood’ and ‘Bumble’ along Broadstairs’ prom today, I think of divisions – here, there, everywhere …

Issue 4 is available now

Confluence

We are happy to announce that Issue 4 is now available to purchase. Featuring a lovely lineup of poems and prose pieces, plus artwork from Duncan Grant, we are very proud of this one, and delighted that we have been the first people to publish several of the poets here, alongside a number of well-known writers. We’re sure you’ll be reading more from these emerging writers soon!

We will be adding a few extras over the next couple of days – so pop back for live performances of some of the poems!

Submissions to Issue 5 are open now.

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Rupel

A busy week for Ramsgate harbour for sure. The bank holiday weekend saw 70 wonderful yachts over from Belgium competing in the North Sea Regatta, a wonderful horizon of triangle sails.

Ripple-skim sails that catch the sunblushed gaze, 

the curve and jump of wave and rope to snatch the angled crests,  

jive the sea-dance breeze.

And the highlight of last week the magnificent ‘Rupel’  – coming into Ramsgate under full sail. A two-masted schooner this gorgeous boat was built in the style of the schooner that plied mail between Ramsgate and Belgium in the 18th century.  Rupel’s visit to our lucky selves was part of the continued campaign to garner support for a renewed ferry service between Ramsgate and Ostende.

     the breeze full-caught to flare and puff this view, 

    again the gasp of rig and bow the Rupel’s plow to then to now                                                                           

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Elizabeth Fry – (nee Gurney) born 21.5.1780

I often like to ‘Google’ today’s date as a source of inspiration and thought. Today I found that on this day – 21st May – Elizabeth Fry was born, in 1780.

I tuned in immediately since many many many are the times recently that I have walked past the blue plaque on Belle Vue Road that notes where she died, here in Ramsgate, in 1845. Elizabeth wasn’t born here … but in later life she lived at Arklow House (no longer there) and it was there she passed away from a stroke. Apparently Seamen of the Ramsgate Coast Guard flew their flag at half-mast – a practice that until this occasion had only ever been reserved for the death of a ruling monarch.

She’s been on bank notes too – her face passed around in grubby greedy guilty and innocent hungry hands –  I wonder what she’d have thought of that?

Elizabeth’s views on reform of the criminal justice system remain current and certainly she’s coloured my own thoughts on the endless ‘punishment v rehabilitation’ debate. For me, there is something immensely powerful in the thought that when I walk down to our wonderful harbour, as I do most days, I may be passing through, and round, and in, Elizabeth’s shadow.  Perhaps she looks out to sea from the same point as I do, on a springtime east cliff prom?

Does she hear the gull’s cry still,

turn softly to the dusk

and flagpole lamplight prom

to sigh this May-time breeze?

Ramsgate Bardic Fete

This Monday, 1st May, we have a bank holiday to enjoy, and the first of a planned annual event here in Ramsgate, the Bardic Fete. This, the first one, pays tribute to Netta Syrett, a Ramsgate-born author  (1865-1943) whose novel A Portrait of Rebel became a 1933 film ‘A Woman Rebels’ – (banned at the time for its ‘shocking’ portrayal of a woman exercising her freedom of choice.)

The Ramsgate Bardic Fete will feature poetry, spoken word, music and song – as well as the inaugural crowning of the ‘Bard in Waiting’ – a Bard for Ramsgate whose role will be the promotion of words, literacy, creative expression here in Thanet, and beyond.

I’m looking forward to sharing some of my poetry at this lovely community event, good for Ramsgate, good for Thanet, good for poetry. 🙂

Hello

This page / site has lain dormant long enough!  It’s time, methinks, to ‘connect’ a tad more, and share with you all some of what I have written, had published, and some of what I’m currently doing in terms of poetry.  Hope you enjoy.