The poetry sessions have motivated me to write poetry in order to be able to read something to the rest of the group. Being one of the winners in the competition earlier in the year gave me more confidence in my own work. I am also more motivated to read other people’s work, although I feel I have only just started here and that this will be a life time’s discovery.

It was inspiring to listen to other people’s poems. It confirmed to me that you could write a poem about any thing at all. It was great to listen to other people’s styles, which also varied a lot. I really valued the many poets who drew on their own memories and experiences. This inspired me to do this more too.

At the moment my own poetry is usually free verse. I find it very difficult to rhyme or give a consistent structure. I love including the natural world in my poems and doing my best to make it sound musical. I enjoy including interesting images and metaphors but I also try to make my poetry accessible.

My poem for the competition was about singing in lockdown, and the poem I am including is also about singing, but this time with my choir. It was written about the time we were forced to sing outside. When I first knew that we weren’t allowed to sing outdoors, I felt it unfair. I still feel it to be unfair, but I wasn’t expecting singing outdoors to be quite such an unusual, surreal and enjoyable experience. I felt like I was part of nature, so this poem explores these feelings.

Secret Haven

When I am in the church hall again
I will think back,
To a time when we came
With folders of music,
And sat on damp uneven grass
With camp chairs.
An unlimited height of sky
Over our heads.

We sang to the graves,
And the ancient church
Behind the flint wall.
Tall trees were
Dark with summer,
And sometimes a bird
Would swoop, hurry past,
On its way to roost.

Our voices were thin,
The keyboard – distant.
We sang with bird song,
And insects, that could buzz
Into our mouths.
Sometimes it spat with rain.
Wind flapped at our pages,
Under an unreliable tent of sky.
Darkness crept in,
Making shadows deeper.
A rising tide of night.

I saw the sun
Down a soft staircase
Of clouds with
Folds of cumulus.

Its rays, crepuscular,
Bars of light
Touching the hills, from a
Milk white ball of light

In the grey darkness,
We turned on torches
To read our music,
Making small pools of light
Like glow worms,
Cold air covering us
Like a cloak.

They said it was unsafe to sing –
But how could I feel in danger?

In that still garden –

That secret haven?

© Copyright 2021 Rebecca Grove – All Rights Reserved