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RBW celebrated this annual event by holding a FREE poetry afternoon by kind permission of SCC Your Library Service.


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A live performance afternoon - put on by RBW contributors with readings from RBW' Eclectic Mix collection and NEW WORKS.

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Theme for 2009 - Heroes and Heroines.

Free of charge event . . . All poetry lovers were welcome.

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Here are some of our specially written Hero and Heroine poems and some of the poets who took part:

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             Where can she be?


Where can she be, my daughter?

She isn't making a noise, or mess,

Or speaking with  voice of argument to her brother,

Nor yet 'helping' in the garden.


Then, I remember where she went this morning.

Now, she has flown away on swan's wings,

She has gone through the Secret Door,

Through the Wardrobe, through the Looking Glass.


Those two white wings have taken her beyond calling,

A new library book the only passport she needs

To travel limitlessly.

Where is she now ?  Where has she been?



              Night Hero


Under the eiderdown,

After 'lights out!',

A yellowing torch my companion,

I follow my hero

Through the next chapter.


I could not leave him

On the desolate mountainside,

In a burning plane,

Attacked by Polar bears,

Lost in the jungle.


To help him, he has no magic spell

Nor wizard's blood in his veins.

On his side he has but resourcefulness,

Courage, loyalty and wits

To bring him at last to the final page.


Where are you now,  Cub Peters,

David Flame, Tony Carstairs or Biggles?





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Stanley Matthews, Stoke City and England wizard

Played seven hundred games and never a yellow card

With his trickery he left defenders all undone.

His dad, Hanley’s Fighting Barber, had boxed my granddad and won.

One day Stan left for Blackpool and cup final glory,

Returning to take us up, a football fairy story.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

with dreams of being just like him when I had come of age.


Len Hutton, Yorkshire County’s cricketing legend,

Learned to bat again, one arm by injury shortened.

Forever to be a pillar of cricket’s folklore

With three hundred and sixty-four runs a record test match score.

As he handed me the school certificate I’d won

The great man shook my hand and smiling broadly said, ‘Well done’.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

with dreams of being just like him when I had come of age.


Denis Wilshaw, Wolves and England number ten

was my maths teacher when I was about eleven.

One morning the headmaster told us in assembly

Denis scored four goals in the England-Scotland match at Wembley

As if it was something that every day ensued.

He was a fifties Ronaldo – without the attitude.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

with dreams of being just like him when I had come of age.


Tom Price, businessman, speaker, singer and dad.

Even now when I go back, I’m still Tom Price’s lad.

He preached in chapels near and far with wit and wisdom,

His tenor voice ringing out a favourite hymn or anthem.

From day to day his words he always turned to action

Mentor, leader, friend to customers and congregation.


I watched in admiration his deeds of skill and courage

and dream that I’ve been a bit like him now I’ve come of age -

But without the singing.


© John Price 2009

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Car Boot 

(Dedicated to those Sunday morning heroes out in all weathers)

by SMS

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Littered with the detritus of other people’s lives
each wonky table a kaleidoscope of memory:
toys a baby threw from its pram
being traded to buy baguettes of ham.
Schoolboys with a come-and-buy look in their eye,
desperate for old Ted to morph into a warrior guy
Polish, Urdu, French and Shelta voices mingle and fade
into the melting pot of common trade.
A bargain is struck over a handshake
by the proud new owner of a ‘vintage’ rake
no doubt made in Taiwan last week
with knock-off DVDs: well worth a peek!
Roly-poly mothers haggle over second-hand shoes
crushing buniony toes into phony Jimmy Choos.
Sad stick-thin girls with pushchairs and straggly locks
counting the pennies for ice-creams and chocs.
Chipped and sorry, a flying Beswick duck all on its own,
and two rows further on another waits sadly alone,
and right at the end on row twenty three,
for 50p, the tiniest duck to reunite all the three.

Reviewer's comments: This poem takes you to a car boot sale - so well described you could be there as one of the characters. I love the word ‘detritus’ and pinched it for a poem I was writing. This poem is so full of life and movement, vitality AND fun. You really feel that you are at a car boot sale.

A Price Too High (Carers’ Rap)


When the price demanded by love is too high,
long days - short days - years passing by,
Carers holdfast: taking up the slack,
sleeves rolled up, they’re on their jack.

Unqualified nurses’ demanded sacrifice.
‘Try more tea dear, come on be nice!’
Teetering on the edge of personal abyss,
Wailing inside, keening for what they miss.

With no let up on the morrow,
just another day of toil and sorrow.
Slogging hard from early light,
with every frustration and another fight.

Carers always die first, statistics show
worn out, defeated, always on the go.
While unburdened, the ‘cared for one’
happily lives on and on and on and on.

Not ‘Voluntary’ work! Just unpaid.
Bowed and broken: nerves shot and frayed.
Shattered, living on a different planet,
Every sacrificial hour tested to the limit.

Caring isn’t a choice, it’s not a ‘vocation’.
There’s no chance of a fat promotion,
no direct lines of communication.
No-one sane signs up for tribulation.

Without respite, without let up,
day in, day out. Over spilling cup,
losing their own life’s inner beauty,
caught on a spiral of love and duty.


SMS 09


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Granny vs Rabid Snail!


Oh fear the wrath of Rabid Snail, and his scaryloud war cry!

With an “owahahahah!” and a “heheheheheh!” and “Your lettuces are mine!”

Yes fear the wrath of Rabid Snail, a hero strong and true

as he rides the length of the map and back, full of derring do!

On a horse called Rat (peculiar name that) he gallops South and North

With a “Heheheheheh!” and an “Owahahahah!!” robbing for all he’s worth!

Loyal to his warlord, Tarkus Monk, he always does his duty.

He died ten times in the last two months but he won’t lie down! (It’s the booty)

Gold and gems and silks and things, metal, clay and wheat

He steals it all to return it home, so the hordes of Monk can eat

The dread of the Romans, and the Gaul’s despair, a  Teuton through and through!

With an “Owahahahah!” and a “Heheheheheh!” ( well I’m scared, how about you?)


“Owahahahah!” and the market stall is as empty as a beggar’s hand!

“Heheheheheh!” and the palace is missing that pretty gold cake stand!

Yes fear the wrath of Rabid Snail, coming soon to a town near you!

Hide all your lettuce and shiny bling, or he’ll  away with all that too.

“Owahahahah!” comes the distant cry, but our stuff was locked away.

“Heheheheheh!” said my old Granny “He’ll get nowt from us today!”

A fiendish trap for the slimy one was clicking into motion

The only thing that Snail could find was a barrel of beery potion

“Snail by name and Snail he be” cackled the wrinkled crone

He’d made straight for the pub and a barrel of ale, all sat there on its own

Well they pushed him in and held him down and he’s stuck in it still they say

With  “owhahahanoooo!” and  “heheheheheeeelp!” and a “hic hic oops” all day.

So fear the wrath of Rabid Snail (if ever he gets free)

Out-heroed by Granny and bar steward Pete and last, but not least, by me!

© Gill Whitehurst 25/09/09


Heroes and Heroines


Bomber  by  LP


My Dad won the war!

That’s what he told me.

He flew in Lancasters.

He always came back

But in what state?

A bomb aimer,

In that little bubble at the front,

I think.

How terrifying must that have been?

How many thousands of feet

Up in the sky?

I can’t walk up a flight of stairs

Without feeling dizzy.

How could you deal with

Your head and things it would be thinking.

You wouldn’t need an imagination!

To do it once was brave enough

But to scrabble into that tiny

Bubble time after time after time,

There has to be a stronger word than




My Sporting Hero


My sporting hero would have to be

That giant of a man – Mohammed Ali.


I first heard of him in nineteen sixty four

Shook the boxing world to its very core.

He’d fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee,

But these are not the attributes which impressed me.

It’s the fight that’s on now, the one he faces everyday,

Perhaps boxing for his life, the price he has to pay.

A left hook to the head, a jab to the chin,

He gives all that he has got for this round he has to win.

Certainly not alone, he leads a large pack,

Inspiring us to victory and to stay on the attack.

Parkinson’s the opponent, a ‘rumble’ without rhyme,

Searching for a cure we will use our sparring time?


Mohammed Ali to the final bell you’ll fight,

A knock-out super hero, the title fits just right!





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