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I wrote my first poem, a single four line stanza, after visiting the National Memorial Arboretum to view and photograph the memorial to those shot at dawn in the First Word War and subsequently pardoned; it was a very moving experience. I didn't write another poem for four years when shortly after I retired the muse paid a visit. Now I find that several poems will come, like busses and then I wait patiently for the next lot. I don't mind, quality - as with my photography - is more important than quantity.

Some come easily, the quickest took ten minutes to compose and type the 28 lines, other have taken months and there are a few started long ago when one or two verses came which still wait for the muse to help me finish.

I have just received a book, printed by Blurb, of my first collection of poetry and photographs called "Seeing and Feeling." Blurb print beautiful books but unfortunately the cost of low production runs means they are not affordable to offer to a wider audience. Perhaps that will come in time.

My first poem, written back in 2012
It said what I felt at the time and still feel, deliberately short and to the point.


A few weeks ago I saw a news item about Eunice McGhie-Belgrave who is nothing short of extraordinary. With a spirit and energy which are immediately apparent, she has helped countless people, and in so doing has received an MBE, a Pride of Britain Award, a Queen’s Jubilee Award, and many others. Now well over 80 she is still helping others. Just one of many projects to help local people Eunice set up the Shades of Black community allotments project in the aftermath of the Handsworth riots in 1985. It started with a group of Afro-Caribbean women who were committed to developing the skills of young people. Fruits and vegetables grown by the young people are then harvested and distributed by them to elderly people in the local area. “If the children know where their fruits and vegetables come from and help to grown them they will understand how nice it is to eat the fresh ones rather than the pre-packed."

I was inspired by what she had achieved I wrote a poem and sent her a copy. She rang me to say how much she appreciated that and we chatted on the phone for quite some time.

This is the poem;


The crop is local children
and though she’s 83
she grows them sweet and bright and strong
and weans them off TV.

With spirit and with energy
this gardener took the lead
and in a small allotment
she planted a seed.

Local children come for fun
and learn to grow fresh food
and nothing here is wasted
all is used for good.

The garden feeds the children,
community prospers too.
SOB* grew from the riots
troubled Handsworth had gone through.

Eunice, Pride of Britain,
grandma, MBE
you do more than garden
you set young people free.

* SOB - Shades of Black Community Family Project