Tag Archives: Medway

23 Submarines

23 Submarines logo23 SUBMARINES is a project combining poetry, visual arts and performance devised by Medway Libraries and Icon Theatre, supported by LV21 and Medway Arts Development Team.

I’m excited to say I have been commissioned (along with some other writers – Barry Fentiman Hall, Sarah Hehir, James McKay, Patience Agbabi and Dan Simpson) to write poems about the submarines scattered around Medway, and extracts from the writing will go on posters around Medway. During the project, we will be visiting the submarines to get inspiration – the poets’ daytrip being in February.

UPDATE: The poems have been written and snippets from them are being put up on posters around Medway. There are open mics on 9 June, 14 July and 15 September where some of the poets will no doubt read their poems. For more info see the Visit Medway website.

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Meandering the Medway (2)

Keep Out sign

Keep Out

This poem is composed of found words from our second walk along the Medway, from Horrid Hill to The Strand in Gillingham. These were not the only signs forbidding us to do things, just a few of them. Read all about the journey here.

Little red circles

Little red circles with a line through the middle
Mark the passage of our walk

These hazards are present on this site:
Sudden drop / deep water / slippery surface / danger – deep mud /
ragged edges / subject to flash flooding / beware tidal conditions /

From youth the first word we hear
Is no,
You can’t hold the lead,
You will let it go.

If you fail to clear up after your dog you will be liable
to an on-the-spot fine. Please do not be selfish, think of others.

Don’t ride your bike there –
Careful boys, come away,
You’re going to fall.

Warning – deep water

Where’s your sister?

Any person caught damaging boats
Will be prosecuted

Clean it up

Warning. Keep Out.
Danger of being struck by golf balls.

Private Keep Out

Trespassers will be violated

This space is ours on sufferance
They won’t let us forget it is really theirs.

We negotiate this space

We forge our own lines of desire
But they’re not even our own
Scrubbed into the earth, just
Following those who went before us.

Please don’t light fires
Please don’t pick wildflowers
Please don’t disturb the wildlife
Please put your litter in the bin

Little red circles with a line through the middle
Mark the passage of the walk
Mark the passage of time.

Read more about this walk on The Estuary Monologues.

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Meandering the Medway (1)

Picture of a rusty boat

Horrid Hill abandoned vessel

I have been persuaded to do some walking along the River Medway. Phase one involved a walk from Otterham Creek  to Horrid Hill. And here is a poem that the walk inspired.

Interrogating the detritus

It is interesting to see what people throw into the river
/ or what falls from boats
/ or what people bring specifically to leave behind.

Though once they liked this thing
They don’t care about it anymore.

Abandoned and rotting hulls of vessels,
Poking up green and skeletal from the mud
Like the carcasses of mammoths, or more pertinently, whales.

We make up stories about
The smuggler, or the pyrate, or the asylum seeker,
Or Bonnie and Poppy’s dad,
Who sailed the boat, but

Though once they liked this thing
They don’t care about it anymore.

We see the trolley freed from its supermarket shackles,
Still pristine, made from some rustproof alloy,
Wallowing in the mud.
How many years before it sinks completely from view?
We see tyres, miles from any roads,
We see traffic cones (of course),
emerging primeval from the goo.
Plastic bags flutter in the trees,
in the breeze like grungy ghosts.

We see a rusted box the size of a small safe,
that fell from somewhere a long time ago.
No longer metal, just flaking green and red.
Weed latches onto its sides;
The salty water corrodes it;
And one day it will cease to exist.
Dissolving to be a part of the river.

And though its owners once liked it,
They don’t care about it anymore.


*You can find more info about the walk on The Estuary Monologues site.

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