“Will it, won’t it rain?” I asked over and over yesterday morning as I prepped for our second Poetry with Friends session at The Station Masters’ Community Wildlife Garden next to Whitley Bay Metro.

My trademark optimism allowed a flask to be filled with sugary tea. Yes we would jolly well start the session in the garden and run to nearby cafe, Olives if the rain started.


The rain came down like stair rods…after our session ended so we got to enjoy two hours of poetry and chat in the garden. And Geoff brought choc ices to share. Yum!

We discussed gardens, the proposed Westminster Abbey stone floor memorial to Philip Larkin and Simon Armitage’s appointment as Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.

Geoff shared one of Armitage’s poems, Poundland which describes a shop manager as having “A Face Like Doncaster.” But Simon! A shop manager’s lot is not a happy one, you know. Academic posts might not produce faces like Doncaster but brow-beaten middle managers have every right to look like Doncaster..or any other Yorkshire town you care to mention.

Pauline’s recital of The Roman Centurion’s Song by Rudyard Kipling hit the spot. I was moved by Kipling’s words, the thought of how hard life must have been for the soldier and by Pauline’s reading. The phrase “June’s long-lighted days” comes from the poem.

We enjoyed listening to the poems as well as the sounds around us including passing metros, wood pigeons and the distant sound of a lawnmower. Sounds like a cue for a Larkin poem…

The full list of poems:

  • Cut Grass by Philip Larkin
  • The Summer Day by Mary Oliver
  • Wild Geese by Mary Oliver
  • Poundland by Simon Armitage
  • The Roman Centurion’s Song by Rudyard Kipling
  • Spring Quiet by Christina Rossetti
  • I Have Started to Say by Philip Larkin
  • The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
  • Ride the Breeze by Simon Bridgewood
  • Sheep Fair Day by Kerry Hardie
  • The Rain it Raineth by Charles Bowen (authorship in question…)
  • To Di For by Geoff
  • A Bitterness by Mary Oliver
  • Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf by Roald Dahl
  • Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost


Lots of Mary Oliver. Oh we love Mary Oliver! Perhaps we should write and tell her how much she is appreciated here in North Tyneside.

Thanks to Sara Lee at The Station Masters’ Garden for sorting out the chairs for us. I think we almost persuaded her to join us at another session in the garden. I’ll keep on coaxing her! We will return on Tuesday 7th July at 7pm and on Thursday 16th July at 11 am.


Before that Poetry with Friends at The Mission this coming Tuesday 30th June is all about music. We will be sharing a few of our favourite tunes. Who will start dancing first? I’ve got my money on a couple of likely candidates. Book yourself a place by contacting Gail on 07752356880 or email gail@happyplanetcreativearts.org.uk

Finally if you’ve never visited the Station Masters’ Garden then shame on you! Check out the website http://www.stationmastersgarden.org/  as well as facebook