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.
St Giles’, Southampton Street
Here is another poem engendered in St Giles’ Churchyard, a fruitful source of inspiration, like St Mary’s.
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,’
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’.
St Mary’s Churchyard
The next poem is one of several inspired by the gravestones and other features in St Mary’s Churchyard.
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.
Ophelia (1851-2) by Sir John Everett Millais. Photo © Tate.
Today we have two poems about Ophelia in Reading.
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.
The former ‘Kush News’
Chandni convenience store
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.
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.
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.