The virtual Tunbridge Wells Poetry Trail continues now that the shops are… slowly… taking the poems down!
Here’s a poem for Le Petit Jardin, who sell these beautiful glass drops still made in Syria.
Old Town Damascus –
cardamom, shisha, tooth grins,
a cave of a shop;
kitsch bubble clusters,
glass icicles dangling low.
Our turning rucksacks
threaten to shatter the peace,
‘No matter,’ he smiles.
We choose what we can carry,
wrapped, with care, in last week’s news.
Home; clear drops hang on
fragrant spruce, ribboned gifts beneath.
Logs glow, twinkling children gaze
as fairy lights create sparks
for Syrian memories.
Now each December
I re-read last decade’s news;
the smudged type tattered
as print predicts future hurt.
With care, rewrapped in darkness
One for Oak and Interiors (above), who sell wooden and interesting objects, including tables.
Standing central in the kitchen,
taking your space,
now a bit wobbly.
Smooth still though your gnarled
and wrinkled grain
is comforting to the touch.
Once a young tree
held in a cupule, fed from forest soil
to become strong, elegant, tall.
Green branches reaching
across the forest
caressing other branches,
your heartwood honed, captured, carved
to a fine shape,
admired and coveted.
Marks of children, grandchildren
tales of endless meals prepared,
the chopping of the axe replaced by knife.
sleepy meals for one.
And Darling & Wild, the florist, a poem by Jackie Heath
Here’s one for Peter Speaight the Butchers…
A bicycle, a basket and four bowler hats
‘You can’t miss it.’ I did.
I was looking for what I expected.
What I found was magic:
a white mouse on a mission.
Every day he travels round the circuit
in his railway carriage, looks out the window,
makes notes, draws pictures, smiles. He holds
lifetimes of experience in his hands:
there’s no restricted zone. No parked ideas.
At night he tries out new recipes – tastes
spices and herbs: cinnamon, oregano,
rosemary and thyme. He polishes the links
in the chains, listening to his inheritance tracks.
The customers all watch him, he draws them in.
His window startles – his bicycle and basket
set the theme; the golden pastries are
pat-a-cake prizes for mother and me.
Inside the shop the young man makes welcome,
gives good will and sells nourishment.
Behind him the four bowler hats and the portrait
of the chicken view the scene, hatch plans,
converse with the mouse, shape the future.
And last but not least on this bit of the virtual tour, one for Mirror Beauty. Anyone from Tunbridge Wells recognise themselves…!