National Poetry Day is an annual celebration that inspires people throughout the UK to enjoy, discover and share poems. Everyone is invited to join in, whether by organising events, displays, competitions or by simply posting favourite lines of poetry on social media using #nationalpoetryday.
National Poetry Day was founded in 1994 by the charity Forward Arts Foundation, whose mission is to celebrate excellence in poetry and increase its audience. The Day enjoys the support of the BBC, Arts Council England, the Royal Mail and leading literary and cultural organisations, alongside booksellers, publishers, libraries and schools.
Below are some poems from peoiple across the Borough
THE WITCHES’ TREE
They called it the Witches’ Tree
Which was good enough for me.
For as a child people talked and
Slyly smiled when they spoke
About its mysterious power
Which for me grew hour by hour.
This gnarled monster which
Overlooked the town, was weighed
Down with twisted,tentacled branches
Which I feared would unwind, find
And lock me in a slimy cold embrace
And caress my childish face
As it took me to its deep infernal world.
As I grew up the brave (not me)
Would venture closer just to see
The impish sprites and vapid spirits
Lodging there without a care among
The leafy boughs: but how the
Brave would run and run when
The wind swayed the tree and
Set those hissing spirits free.
All through my so short life it
Overshadowed the town and shadowed
Our every move and thought, and though
We fought, without a sound crept
Closer to our hearts and took root
Within our minds until I woke to find
The town was hot and black…
My friends had turned their backs
On me and shouted ‘witch’;
Roughly they questioned me about
Magic wells and spells and familiars
In my home who would roam
Through narrow streets as I
Hunted for new prey to meet
My tally for the day.
So now here I look evil in the face
As it gathers round me in the guise
Of so called wise, one time friends
Who joyously come to see my end
Swinging from the Witches’ Tree
Which has now opened up
Its mystery to me.
Sue Gerrard. First published The Poetry Box magazine.
This poem came second in the International Poetry Box Competition
We publish a monthly column from Sue here on the St Helens Unlimited website, keep an eye out for it.
On Tuesday 31st October
Sue Gerrard. Tales To Chill…. An evening of ghostly tales for Halloween, including ghosts from St. Helens. St.Mark’s Lodge, Rutland Street, Windle. 7pm. £5 Booking Essential – 07985 556539
From Johnny Wellies to Johnny Vegas
Beechams pills for ills that plagued us
From Pimblett’s pies and Pilkingtons glass
To the Theatre Royal for a touch of class
For all those with a thirst for learning
The Gamble Institute filled that yearning
And for other thirsts and needs to quench
Greenhall’s brewery was Heaven sent!
And for those in search of an arty buzz
You need look no further than Cultural Hubs
As libraries showcase all you need
Through their ever expanding entertainment feed
Whilst Heart Of Glass keep pulses thumping
By supporting creatives and providing funding
Then there’s the scoring might of our rugby team
Fuelling cheer and feeding dreams
Of fans and folk so proud to be
Part of the St Helens Family
And family we are through thick and thin
Bearing hardship with a grin
Because it’s in our history and in our blood
To help the other as families should
So let’s celebrate the past we share
And re-generate wealth in a town we care
So much about, a town that’s as true
For future generations as it was for me and you
The poem is by Lynn Gerrard and here is what she had to say “St Helens, Merseyside is my home town. I was born, bred and fed in this northern reservoir of industrialisation, grazing freely and liberally upon the cultural and more earthy buffet which permeated my childhood and beyond.”
“And, as modest as my home town may seem to some, the larger than life characters, who once walked and those who remain to walk upon the tarmac covered cobbles of yesteryear, continue to add colourful textures to the town’s diligent layers.”
“Of course, St Helens, like many other areas, still shoulders the brunt of an economically tumultuous climate which whilst leaving the town bruised has certainly not left it beaten!”
“Thanks to the work, support and encouragement of a number of dedicated people and organisations St Helens is progressively being recognised as an enterprising hub of interest and entertainment rather than just a stepping stone to the larger cities.”
“So, in appreciation of my hometown and in celebration of its vibrant past I’ve written this poem with every confidence in St Helen’s vibrant future…”
Find Lynn here:
On Saturday 7th October, Lynn will be running a free verse poetry workshop at Haydock Library for their “Fun Palace” more info here
Inspire And Be Inspired
Making A Difference
Lemn Sissay MBE was born in Billinge.
In June 2015, Sissay was elected as Chancellor of the University of Manchester for a seven-year term by university staff, registered alumni and members of the General Assembly.
Sissay said: “Reach for the top of the tree and you may get to the first branch but reach for the stars and you’ll get to the top of the tree. My primary aim is to inspire and be inspired. I am proud to be Chancellor of this fantastic university and extremely grateful to everyone who voted for me.”
I suppose I’ll never know
Look at her over there, wearing ten-foot high heels!
Why would you walk around like that?
You’ll probably fall onto your face, flat!
I suppose I’ll never know…
Look at him over there, eating a huge Kit Kat!
Why would you eat food like that,
in case you don’t know – it makes you fat!
I suppose I’ll never know…
Look at her over there, carrying a purse made of fur!
Why would you carry a purse like that,
made from the fur of a horrible rat.
I suppose I’ll never know…
Look at him over th-wait…
Look at me over here, criticising people who can’t actually hear.
How nasty of me to hate someone’s look when really, their life could really suck!
I’m really sorry for being so mean but don’t listen to me I’m a stupid teen.
Chloe Frederick, aged 11. Queens Park Primary School, St Helens, Merseyside
Waiting for the sun, which comes out hardly ever,
Keep calm, carry on-whatever the weather.
Our countryside’s protected by the national trust-
Visiting this places, an absolute must.
A countryside full of cows, trees and green,
The most magnificent castles that you’ve ever seen.
The home of fantastic animated cartoons,
Little Mix, One Direction- some amazing tunes!
Home of books and fantastic literacy,
With a rich history, full of mystery.
Democracy and the chance to be free,
A more united country you’ll never see.
Different religions shouldn’t feel fear,
Hold those you love extra near.
Now is the time we must all stand together,
Keep calm, carry on, whatever the weather.
For a storm that hangs above the Manchester sky,
Will always be remembered by a rainbow up high.
Written by Year 4 pupils from Rainford Brook Lodge Primary School.
I’ll take thy hand, up Billinge Hill
Where we had been and time was still
In gentle time far away
It never seemed we’d see this day
But war is made by greater men
Await the day we are free again
In distant lands far away
Being with thee is all I pray
But strangers steal without alarm
Takes my life with mindless charm
I’m here with thee, up Billinge Hill
And hand in hand eternal still.
Isobella Pearson (12). Rainford High Technology College. Published in The Poetry Trials – Cheshire & Merseyside