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The view from Katesgrove Hill

Author: John Dearing

John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Vision of Hades at Darlington Station


Darlington Railway Station, Adam Brookes

If asked what he thinks is the best poem he ever wrote John is inclined to put forward one that was inspired several hundred miles from Reading.

“I felt that the way the verse form changed from verse two to three reflected perfectly the change of mood from darkness and gloom to light and hope. I wonder if readers will agree!”

With which we conclude this selection.

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Autumn Hymn

St Giles’, Southampton Street

Here is another poem engendered in St Giles’ Churchyard, a fruitful source of inspiration, like St Mary’s.

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Sailing from Byzantium

Reading International Billboards on Crown Street

The next piece is a light-hearted parody of William Butler Yeats’s great poem, Sailing to Byzantium, which begins ‘That is no country for old men. / The young in one another’s arms,’

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: St Giles’ Churchyard

St Giles' Church

St Giles’ Church

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Sunday Evening Looking Eastward

St Laurence's and the Blade

St Laurence’s and the Blade

The next poem proved popular at the poetry readings at the Retreat and was also published in the Civic Society’s newsletter in a survey of views on ‘The Blade’.

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: A Kennet Haiku

Canal in the evening

Canal in the evening


Still serene the swan
Takes an after-twilight cruise
Gliding through black ink



  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

John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: An Elegy Written in St Mary’s Churchyard

St Mary’s Churchyard

The next poem is one of several inspired by the gravestones and other features in St Mary’s Churchyard.

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Kennet Mouth Revisited

Horseshoe Bridge at Kennet Mouth

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Lines to a Cygnet

Swan and Cygnets

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Ecological Observations…

County Lock

County Lock – once a centre of industry on the Kennet

John admits to a perverse pleasure from composing very long titles for very short poems, as here.

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Ophelia

Ophelia 1851-2 by Sir John Everett Millais, Bt 1829-1896

Ophelia (1851-2) by Sir John Everett Millais. Photo © Tate.

Today we have two poems about Ophelia in Reading.

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John Dearing’s Poetry Corner: Indian summer by the Kennet

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.

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Retailers flee Southampton Street

In my recent post about Katesgrove then (1980) and now, I mentioned the many changes that have taken place over the years, but earlier this year we did have two shops remaining; the newsagents near St Giles’ Church and the convenience store next to the former Cambridge Arms.

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Lance-Corporal Cross of Elgar Road

Among the inscriptions and memorials in St Mary’s, Castle Street is a memorial to Corporal William Henry Cross of the 58th company of the Imperial Yeomanry, killed at the battle of Bethlehem on 7 July 1900 during the conflict variously called the Second Boer War or South African War.

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Katesgrove, the urban village

Early in 1980 I wanted to move from Maidenhead to Reading, where houses were cheaper. I contacted an estate agent and one Saturday in May I collected details of four properties, three of which were in Katesgrove. After the usual laborious process of house purchase, I moved to Sherman Road in October 1980. By 2015 more than half my life had been spent at this address.

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