Poem a Month for July
This month's Made in Derbyshire poem was created during the Derbyshire Literature Festival at a workshop run by River Wolton at The Staveley Community Care Centre. Participants shared their life stories which were shaped into this powerful poem.
To look at me you’d never guess I own a thousand books
Or that meat and potato pie’s my favourite thing to cook,
That when the Sheffield Blitz was on we saw the sky ablaze,
Huddled in air-raid shelters for the best part of two days.
My hearing and my eyesight may not be as good as some
And you might think all I’ve ever been was husband, wife or mum,
But I was in the army, Colchester was my base
And I’ll always recall the homesick feeling of that place.
You may be a bit surprised when you hear me reveal
That I helped set up Samaritans in 60’s Chesterfield,
Or, like you, I loved collecting shells and pebbles by the sea
And paddled at Bridlington with my skirt hitched to my knees.
When you see me sitting quietly or resting in my room
Remember I loved plum trees and the apple trees in bloom,
Our vegetable garden used to be envied by all
But we fell out with the neighbours when our chickens jumped the wall!
To look at me you’d never know I used to take the stage
And sing at Brimington, when The Beatles were the rage,
That I’m proud of how I worked night shifts with forty elderly
and had to get them all up, washed and dressed, for toast and tea.
I loved and lost and loved again, just like anyone,
I made clothes for my children, loved dancing, football, fun,
I picked forget-me-nots, my favourite colour of sky blue
So don’t forget, my life is rich with memories, just like you.
by Lillian, Doris, Joan, Mary, Barbara, Irene, John, Margaret, Mary, Joan with help from River Wolton
With many thanks to everyone who took part in the workshop, to River, and to colleagues in Derbyshire Libraries and Adult Care who supported the event.
The Staveley Centre supports adults living with dementia and their carers as well as providing other community services.
River Wolton is a former Derbyshire Poet Laureate. She works as a writer in the community and her latest collection is Indoor Skydiving (Smith/Doorstop 2013).
Join Helen Mort for a breakfast reading during Buxton Festival on Saturday 25 July, 9am–10am, Upstairs at the Old Clubhouse. Visit the Buxton Festival website for ticket price and more details.