Sunday 10 June 2018

Wharfedale Poets have been off-line for a couple of years, but we have not been inactive. We have gained two new members - Mike Farren and David Hesmondhalgh - and have published two anthologies, about which there will be more in a future post.

In the mean time, there is a show coming up, featuring two members of Wharfedale Poets, along with great contemporary folk music in a beautiful and atmospheric setting.

The Manor House in Ilkley is the venue for this special evening of poetry and songs on the evening of Saturday 16th June at 7.30pm.

The Moonbeams, the well known and loved contemporary folk musicians will bring their original songs from the Dales to the party. The Moonbeams are part of TheMoonbeam Collective, a community organisation that aims to celebrate the environment, countryside and rural life through the arts. They have just released their third album This Land and their 2015 album Watching Wildlife was critically acclaimed as well as being voted in the top 50 Daily Telegraph albums of the year.

Two members of The Wharfedale Poets will be reading from their work.  Colin Speakman is a well-known poet, author and environmental campaigner and Ilkley’s Mandy Sutter, as well as being an acclaimed poet, recently won a prestigious national short-storywriting award.

The Wharfedale Poets were established in 2010 and have since grown and reputation, counting published poets and national poetry prize winners amongst their numbers. They regularly give performances in the region and the group have produced four highly praised anthologies since 2014.

The latest, Music and Milestones (Ings Poetry, 2018) was published in April.

Jon Avison of The Moonbeam Collective said ‘We are looking forward to bringing our music to Ilkley and it is a particular joy to be able to play at The Manor House and share the evening with The Wharfedale Poets. The combination of poems and music always works well’

Colin Speakman of The Wharfedale Poets said: “It will be a real privilege and pleasure to share a platform with Moonbeams. Music and poetry are sister arts, and what better way to celebrate a summer evening in the Yorkshire Dales than with wonderful music and words”.

The evening starts at 7.30pm and tickets available on the door cost £6 and include a free glass of wine.

Friday 22 April 2016

Out went macaroons

When I was twelve and fat, my mother stopped baking. 
Out went macaroons, and butter sinking
slowly through hot scones. Out went rock buns
with their shy request for half an egg. In came
Ryvitas, dry as dead men’s ashes. In came 
skimmed milk measured in a 20-calorie jug. 

Behind closed doors, soft bags of ground almonds
still rubbed shoulders with bottles of vanilla essence 
and cochineal. Shelves were sticky
with the pink rings of glace cherry tubs, immanent 
with the rattle of cake racks against blackened tins. 

Greaseproof sheets still jammed the drawer 
but my mother’s back was turned. In fear she went
shop-bought, hid Wagon Wheels 
in the spare room wardrobe. I stole them often: 
ate whole packets in one go, to keep the crime clean.

Her cookbooks, plump with cuttings, look modest
on my shelf. Her inked instructions are neat 
and strict. ‘Bake in deep tin – it rises!’ ‘Heat but 
do not boil!’ Despite my broken waistline, these days
I bake often, finding her in the sweet density 

of marzipan, the bitter puff of burnt currants. 

Mandy Sutter.
The Knowledge

It passes by unrecognized
as the years spin;
no cake, cards, candles celebrate
birthday’s darker twin.

To moles that burrow in the earth,
to beetle, moth and crow,
death comes to everyone at last
but we’re the ones who know.

The blackbird sings to greet the day,
his voice is sure and strong.
He doesn’t know that he will die,
what matters is the sun, the sky,
what matters is the song.

Jenny Dixon.
From her latest collection, 'Marking Time'.

Friday 15 April 2016

MATA-ATUA 1                                        The first voyaging canoe & Air New Zealand Boeing 777.

Cloud stitcher,

celestial elephant.

He’s all the sevens,

two Barlick turbos, 2 Rolls Royce, Barnoldswick.

and a Koru on his tail. 3 Maori, Spiral design.

Up there,

six minutes to Lockerbie,

thirty thousand feet

and the seat belts’ sign off.

Time for a Bourbon on the rocks,

a Chardonnay

and another ten hours to LA.

Now - below,

I sit in my Yorkshire garden

and everyday,

six miles away,

his white yarn

stitching the clouds, he goes.

I raise my glass and say

“Haere Ra! Maori, Farewell.

Haere - Haere - Haere.”

Sunday 8 November 2015

When you visit 'The Flying Duck', go upstairs and see The Wharfedale Poets, 'Poem of the Month' in a white frame on one of the tables there.

From 'Whetstone Words'.

Adlestrop Remembered 1956

Bad enough to leave my wife,
For a barrack room, woken at five.
Yob Corporal bike rides through and howls
 ‘ . . . Y’ain’t nuthin but a houn’ dog’.

Kicks kit and coal bucket flying.
We stand in line under a shivering moon,
In lonely misery for both years to come.

More drill, our stupid squad, robbed of ourselves,
Hair cut short, shabby denims and to crown it all
A North Irish bigot chaplain to teach us morals!

Malvern camp, no Elgar here.
Just threats and shouts but
At last a troop train out
A time for sleep,
To rest,
In the coach’s moquette fug.

A slowing, a blessed quiet, a stop.

No birdsong on this hoar frost day,
A whistle, lurch, a hiss,  - then on our way

To Aldershot,
To the drill pigs’ bawls,
And hope for leave . . . which we have not got.

Bill Berrett

'Whetstone Words', our second anthology, Autumn 2015.