Practice Poetry

Gift Time

 

Burst into song

at the break of a bud

from its stronghold.

 

Love it long

in the evening

when the crispness has gone

 

And when petals fold

and fall away

never, never mourn the day.

 

It is a time for giving.

 

Copyright Laurence Shelley 

The Sound of Sixty Seven Million People Clapping

 

Last night down here

On Ghost Town Street

A mile or so from Friary House

I heard the sound

Of sixty seven

million people clapping

out on the cobbled lane,

moments after I’d finished writing

on my third day of solitude.

Intrigued, I grabbed my notebook and pen

and leaving the sanctuary of the armchair

moved towards the window.

Leaning out over the kitchen sink

I saw neighbours clapping in backyards

to a song I couldn’t hear.

 

Then I heard a whispering on the grapevine

then my shadow quietly hummed

the nightingale’s song in my ear

and we joined in the applause,

clapping for the doctors and the nurses

clapping all the way to 1948

clapping on the doorsteps

of Tredegar and Ebbw Vale

clapping in Derriford and Freedom Fields

clapping for the man who for me

is the grandfather I never had

the grandfather who gave

my mother a place to sleep

a place to give birth

to three children,

two girls and a boy

one in March

one in November

one on Christmas Day.

 

Copyright Kenny Knight

The Grandchildren of Nye Bevan

 

For Aneurin Bevan (1897-1962)

 

We are the grandchildren of Nye Bevan

some of us are blind

some of us have broken fingers

we were born all over this island

the sons and daughters of Gibran’s longing

 

We are the grandchildren of Nye Bevan

names on collections of poetry

on novels in bookshop windows

on letters from Freedom Fields

on streets all over the city.

 

We are graffiti on cornea and skin

heroes the health service kissed better

we are young children

arms outstretched

beneath the dockyard sky

playing the war that killed millions

the war that took out

my grandmother’s house

and the Atheneum.

We had no memory of the past

only the knowledge of its passing

of families running short of food

when the doctor was called

but the war had gone

leaving its scars on the island

on bomb sites

where wildflowers took root

and with it came peace

medicine and freedom from hunger.

 

We are the grandchildren of two centuries

a list of names longer than a stretch

of cats eyes on a country road.

We are supermarket workers

season ticket holders

at the Cumberland Centre

we are teenagers and nurses

librarians and old age pensioners

we are the grandchildren

of the grandfather of Ebbw Vale

some of us are in a coma

some of us are sleeping.

 

Copyright Kenny Knight

 

 

 

Kenny Knight was born in Freedom Fields in 1951. His work has been published in The Broadsheet, Epizootics, Litter, The Long Poem Magazine, the Plymouth Herald, The New European, The Rialto, Shearsman magazine and Tears in the Fence. He has published 2 collections of poetry. The Honicknowle Book of the Dead (2009) and A Long Weekend on the Sofa (2016) both with Shearsman Books. (www.shearsman.com). He runs CrossCountry writers, staging readings all over Devon, involving anything from poerty to flash-fiction. He works in a supermarket and lives in Plymouth.