Fobney Lock

Fobney Lock

John Dearing has kindly assembled for us a selection of poems, mostly very short, mainly inspired, if that is the right word, by the familiar scenes in and around Katesgrove and the River Kennet.

John will have lived in Sherman Road, Katesgrove for 40 years in October. During that time he has become quite well-known as a local writer, particularly of articles and books on local history, mainly on the subject of pubs and churches. He is less-known for his verse, although he has given readings in the past at the Rising Sun Arts Centre on Silver Street and in the Retreat pub.

He wrote his first and only novel at the age of ten and turned to poetry in his teens, though early attempts were not always promising. A version of the Battle of Maldon in ballad-form included the appalling and unintentional pun:

And some men lasting glory won
And some were carved in twain
And some half-men fled from the fight
But still fought on the Dane.

Indian summer by the Kennet

Where are the boats of Summer? Though the Sun
Beats down upon me, shadows longer fall.
Some leaves are brown, some green.
Lock-gates stay still.
Cygnets glide past that seem to be full grown.
It is October, and the boats have gone.


  1. John Dearing at the Whitley Pump
  2. In Grateful Memory, John Dearing’s new booklet about the monuments and inscriptions in St Mary’s Episcopal Chapel