Image above: Strand on the Green on a winter’s evening; photograph Joanna Raikes
What Strand on the Green means to the people who live here
For the Platinum Jubilee on Sunday 5 June the Strand on the Green Association organised a party and ran photography, art, poetry and limerick competitions. The winners were announced and their work read out by one of our greatest actors, Dame Eileen Atkins, who happens to live on Strand on the Green.
For the poetry competition people were given the task of writing a poem inspired by ‘what Strand on the Green means to you’.
Over 19 poetry competition
There were three entries in the adult poetry competition. Diana Martin was the winner with her poem:
Six weeks of Spring
The doctors called it post viral fatigue.
I must rest, stop work for six weeks.
Baffled by inactivity
I sit on the steps by the river and watch birds.
Two herons busy with sticks,
Sizing them up in their beaks
Dropping them, finding others
Returning to the first,
Always, ignoring each other, making no eye contact.
Behind me the wisteria flares up, then calms.
The tide retreats further; the river shallows and thins
One bridge balletic in the silver light, gleams and fades.
Buses, like red toys, roll across the other,
Which sits solidly, concealing the river’s bend.
I try to still my mind, slow my pulse, make choices.
The tide turns, the sun goes in.
Together, with sticks in beaks, the pair of herons fly off.
Matt Fisher received a ‘special mention’ for his poem:
River Thames Tamed
The tide flows
Left to right on its way up
And right to left on its way down,
And ripples in between.
It depends on the sky.
Shimmery some days
Muddy brown the next,
And sometimes green.
It shows a pebbly bed.
At times it overflows.
At Strand on the Green
The houses hold it back
In determined rows.
On the footpath
One can no longer pass,
When the river stakes a claim.
Then her will wanes
And drains in waves.
The River Thames tamed
By shores man made.
Image above: Winter dusk at Strand on the Green; photograph Joanna Raikes
This was the other entry:
On the Towpath – Matt Fisher
A dog pushes ahead of his people pack
Interested in the ducks
And white birds floating back.
The ducks don’t care.
Waves of children’s excited voices
Shrill the air.
A lone Lycra runner.
The pace of rubber-soles
Beat to compete
With the train speeding by.
Cher-cherc cher-cherc cher-cherc
Raps rhythmically on amplifying track.
And then the sounds revert
Like the water,
To their natural order.
Briefly it’s as if
Man never came.
But then it would not be named
The River Thames.
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