23 Sep Brandon in Fire & Flint
Today is the Fire & Flint Festival in Brandon.
I have been working with Suffolk Poetry Society and Market Place to gather people’s memories of Brandon, research some of its historic past and encourage the creation of new poetry to celebrate Brandon’s Heritage.
Working with Diane Jackman of Suffolk Poetry Society we talked to a number of older residents who visit the Empanda Day Care Centre and recorded some of their wartime memories. Taking the theme of Fire and Flint we also explored the Great Fire of Brandon in 1789, the forest fire in 1946 that revealed the old flint mines, and the coming of the gasworks and the air bases. Using all these resources, I ran a writing workshop a few weeks ago and together we produced a collection of poetry on the themes of fire and flint – Brandon’s Voices.
Today some of the writers will be in Brandon at three poetry reading sessions. Two performances will be held in the Library at 3.10pm and 4.10pm, and a final performance at 5pm in the Five Bells as part of the Tea Dance. The whole event culminates in a spectacular light show projected onto the Town Hall and some of the poems will be used in the sound track for this.
The project has brought together many different strands of Brandon’s heritage.
Here is a taster of my contribution to the poetry for the day:
Haiku – war memories
We watched bombers leave
Lay awake for their return
Counting them in.
A stick of bombs fell
In the asparagus field
We hunted shrapnel.
Haiku – June and Odette
Singling sugar beet
After school in Weeting fields
Down on hands and knees
Taking the bread round
In the co-op’s old red barrow
Warm from the oven
The Polish Airman
Do you remember Peter the Pole,
As he cycled on long summer evenings
Back home, with a rabbit slung
On the handlebars.
How he lived, with his few words of English,
And worked the allotment,
Pensioning out his old years
Long since he flew in our battles
Blue eyes scanning eastward
For a memory of home.
More details see www.cppmarketplace.co.uk