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