Ver Poets for Sustainable St Albans 2016: 

Saturday 26th November


by Robert Peake

Bronze statues of men on horses.

Small pieces of tarmac, glittering like shells.

Skeletal towers, disconnected.

Concrete hives with glassless windows.

Yellow foam congregating in eddies.

White bridges overtaken by gulls.



by A.C.Clarke

On the same bush

wizened blackberries

others still red, others

plump to bursting …

In the damp ground

toadstools brown and crinkled

beg to be gathered up

by someone who knows …

From the young apple trees

windfalls starting to fester

offer a guiltless feast …

Hurry! Nature can’t wait.


Friday 25th November


by Sylvia Banham

We see it, riding south, sun in our eyes,

familiar outline, as travellers have done

these last nine hundred years. Glimpsed

from this angle, buttressed against pale sky,

it dominates, proclaims the continuity

of more than the Roman bricks which shape its tower:

place of carved stone and crafted glass

of bells, of glowing manuscripts, of learning;

home too to Alban, patron of refugees.

Sunlight on brick and stone. Travelling towards

our present, we see it still, above the city,

unconsigned yet to oblivion, to dust.


Thursday 24th November


by Gillian Knibbs

Four boys are poised, like vultures, in a tree,

stark silhouettes against the setting sun.

The branches prong like daggers, the boys seem

empty, their shapes are thin and hunched.

The smallest takes an acrobatic leap.

He shapes his plunge in the orange air;

his body is free with innocence.

He will slip, splashless, into a deep pool.

The lake that waits beneath him is a soup

of toxic mining waste; his skin will crawl

with it. It will coat him like disease.


Poem for Wednesday 23 November

APPLE TREE                                                                                                                                                                                        by Sylvia Banham

Apple tree, are you weary of

standing patiently in weathers,

under sun, under moon?

Bluetits, little acrobats,

peck at your branches,

outspread, like Buddha’s arms;

worms ferry your aged roots,

feed on your discarded leaves;

you shed ripe fruit, pragmatic.

Yet each year you astonish

with a dazzle of blossom

only feet from my kitchen sink.


Poem for Tuesday 22nd November


by Beliz McKenzie

It’s overflowing;

we try to contain it;

reach for wrappers tangled in trees;

pick up papers –

ripped and mud-splattered –

from under our feet;

collect cans abandoned on benches.

It’s overgrown;

we want to maintain it;

shape what we see,

search in the scarred landscape

for that gem, rare and delicate,

protect and nurture it

from growth which could destroy.

It’s overused;

we need to sustain it;

to preserve our energy

in this overheated world;

to create a path,

bright and rainbow-lined,

leading long past our point of departure.


Poem for Monday 21st November


by Alan George

Leaves fall down with little warning;

the figs follow soon, footkill on the track.

I pick one up, its blood juice coated with grit.

During the summer the sun has flirted

through the foliage to turn green into purple.

Last night this fig fell pregnant here.

For me a reject, I toss it into the hedge,

its seed essence seeping into the soil –

By chance I may have nursed a tree’s re-birth.


Poem for Sunday 20th November


by Bob Niblett

Tara, staring at her plate,

saw the world coagulate

in chilly gravy, as the fatal

tipping point was reached,

all the laws of nature breached,

because her dinner went to waste,

because it had a nasty taste.

Steeling herself unwillingly

to serve sustainability,

Tara resolved to carry out

a deed that made the angels shout

with joy. She swallowed the last sprout.


Poem for Sat 19th November


by John Mole

A texture of little purposes,

No single big thing

But an intimate criss-cross

Of planning and impulse

In search of design.

Every thread a wonder

And the whole cloth

Yet to be revealed

As no less than our life here

On this precious earth.