Tag Archives: poetry

The Poems and the results: The Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival

Thank you to everyone who entered the Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival. We had 56 entries from adults and children alike, with ages ranging from eight to 80+ and lots of strong feelings about the struggles of lockdown, but also the togetherness and the hope that people have found, despite all the difficulties.

The poems are available to download here:

and a video of some of the poems being read is available below. Also, though it was almost impossible to choose between the poems, a decision was finally made and the Mayor of Farnham announced the winners in the video.

The winning poems are:

Adults

Winner

Two Lockdowns A Lifetime Apart

The Second World War began when I was just four
The Coventry Blitz was like a firestorm from hell
Later that week I burst into tears when I saw
My toy shop Owen Owen was a burnt out shell 

Rationing, conscription and lights blackened at night
This was a long lockdown lasting almost six years 
Countless houses and buildings laid waste was our plight
Near half a million deaths left many in tears

Seventy-five years later in twenty-twenty
Few people can claim they saw what was now coming 
A virus takes hold to disrupt years of plenty
As it spreads round the world the I-phones are humming

This invisible virus now needed a plan
The instinct in shock is to gather together
But to widespread dismay a new lockdown began
Keep two metres apart at all times wherever

With deaths quickly rising and restrictions imposed
Stay at home, avoid friends and even relations 
All but food shops were shuttered and schools were all closed
Wedding parties were banned and all celebrations

I worry my age group holds the country in thrall
We are lucky to have lived so long to this age
It is we who must be careful and should now call
For the economy to be let out of its cage

Being twice locked down it is all but in tatters
The outlook for young people is truly blighted
Surely for their sakes alone all that now matters
Is that their futures be quickly reignited

John Littlewood

Runner up:

Love Your Neighbour As Yourself

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
through screen or window, darkly.
Muffled, crackled, frozen. ’Help!’
‘Can you hear me?’ Hardly.

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
through greying hair and slowing hours.
Dull repetition, same old heft,
grace of God in breeze or showers.

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
but what means as and how fares Self?
We are God’s hands but when My Self,
when love poured out soon threatens Self?

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
when sacrifice is hellish hard.
Exhaustion beckons, ‘Pain! Now quell!’
and chaos reigns in your backyard.

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
wash the bodies, dig the graves.
Tender care the greatest wealth,
tears of love for all they gave.

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
desist from posting online hate.
Don’t bully, scam or hurt by stealth,
or suicide might be their fate.

Love Your Neighbour as Yourself,
when home-penned folk cry out in pain.
When tempers flare, without behest,
‘When will we see our friends again?’

Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
when out of work graph rises steep.
Everyone needs better, best,
for damaged mental health wounds, deep.

Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
vaccines roll out to the people.
Schools return and wedding guests,
bells will ring from tower or steeple.

Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
pubs reopen, shops restock.
Meet with friends and family,’ Yes!!’,
hugs, kisses, treats, as doors unlock.

Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
when loved ones’ deaths have maimed you.
Remember humour, chuckling chest,
tearful teas and talk refold you.


Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
Please keep the distance, wear the mask.
Do take the vaccine, take the test,
washing hands not much to ask.

Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
make time to think and time to rest.
Properly to think ‘No stress!’
how love of Self confers the best.

Love Yourself as Neighbour, Blessed,
clamouring calls you can resist.
Your self-care struggle now confessed,
put Your needs first in To Do list.

Wendy Edwards

Children:

Winner

A Lockdown Poem

Schools have closed
Working from home
Missing family and friends
Will this ever end?
Doing lots of calls
Kitchens into school
Whether it’s computer or phone
Everything happened at home
Clapping for heroes
Rainbows on the windows
Watching the news
Feeling confused
People staying in
Why is that a thing?
Having lots of bubbles
Missing lots of cuddles
Staying with your household 
If it’s hot or cold
Lots of things have stopped
Many bubbles have popped
But we’re staying safe at home
And are never really alone.

Matilda Bowden (9)

Runner-up

Coronavirus

Coronavirus has wrecked all of our lives
Oh how I wish I could punch it
Rage takes over me and I cannot control it|
On the inside I have pain
Now is the time we fight
Anger is the only feeling I can feel
Vans with deliveries come by, wishing us luck
I had covid and I don’t want it to come back        
Run, for covid is here
Understand me please I can’t take this pain anymore
Stand with me, we will defeat it together

Elsie Howard (8)

Last call for the Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival

Have you written your poem for the Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival? Entries should be in by the end of tomorrow.

Send your poems about being in lockdown – whatever you feel, whatever your experience – to Lesley Crawley either by email or to her at The Rectory, 25 Upper Hale Road, Farnham GU9 0NX.

Adults and children alike are welcome to send in their poems on the theme of lockdown. The Mayor has offered a prize for the best adult and best child one but don’t worry if you don’t think you are the world’s greatest poet – just give it a go!

If you want some ideas, listen to this lockdown poem by Harry Baker:

Or this poem by Jim Carruth

the long bench

For the times ahead
when we will be

as if at either end
of the long bench

where distance kept
is love’s measure

and death dances
the space between

when words alone
are not enough

and queued memories
reach out to touch

let longing be a store
of nut and seed

that grows each day
in strange hibernation

readying for its end –
the sharing of the feast.

Picture by Ksenia Makagonov on Unsplash

The Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival

Lockdown, lockdown. It’s all around us. And how are we feeling? Why not try to express it in poetry?

We are running the Farnham Lockdown Poetry Festival and invite everyone to write a poem about being in lockdown – whatever you feel, whatever your experience – and send it to us and we will put together a compilation video of our favourite poems and put it on our website.

Adults and children alike are welcome to send in their poems on the theme of lockdown. And don’t worry if you don’t think you can write poetry; read some and give it a go!

If you want some ideas, listen to this lockdown poem by Harry Baker:

Or this poem by Jim Carruth

the long bench

For the times ahead
when we will be

as if at either end
of the long bench

where distance kept
is love’s measure

and death dances
the space between

when words alone
are not enough

and queued memories
reach out to touch

let longing be a store
of nut and seed

that grows each day
in strange hibernation

readying for its end –
the sharing of the feast.

Send your poems to Lesley Crawley: revd.lesley@badshotleaandhale.org to arrive by February 26. Or you can send them in the post to Rev’d Lesley Crawley, The Rectory, 25 Upper Hale Road, Farnham GU9 0NX.

Candles of Hope shine a light on human rights

 

St Mark’s Church will hold Candles of Hope on Saturday, December 1 – an evening of music, readings and art in aid of Amnesty International.

Organised by the Farnham branch of Amnesty International – the movement which campaigns to end abuses of human rights across the globe – Candles of Hope will feature Jay Parrack’s Voices Community Choir;  Anna Carteret (poetry reading);  Wildflowers (a capella); Richard Lane (classical violin); Frances Whewell (organ);  Bob and Lesley Shatwell (folk violin and double bass); Heather Golding and Caroline Walker (voice and flute); and Jonathan Adams (acoustic guitar and voice). There will also be an art display and refreshments will be on sale.

Admission is free but donations are welcomed. The evening begins at 7.30pm.

Helena Walker, one of the event’s organisers, said: “Candles of Hope’ is an uplifting evening of live music and inspirational poetry, along with an art exhibition and refreshments.  It offers the opportunity to celebrate the work of Amnesty International and learn more about Amnesty’s involvement with human rights issues around the world.  Everyone at the event will be invited to sign greetings cards which will be sent to people who are currently being supported by Amnesty International.

“Since 1961, Amnesty International has campaigned for the release of prisoners of conscience around the world; for some years, the Farnham members of Amnesty have taken a particular interest in Vietnamese prisoners and we will be welcoming a group of Vietnamese friends to the event.”

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than seven million people, campaigning for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all. It investigates abuses of human rights, lobbies governments and other powerful groups such as companies, tells the stories of people affected by abuses, and mobilises supporters to campaign for change and support the victims of injustice.  It acts on the principle that it is “better to light a candle than curse the darkness”.

For information on the Farnham Amnesty group, email farnham.amnesty@gmail.com