The Car Turned by the Church – Gladstone Moments

Carolyn O’Connell
The car turned by the church
inside a brass tray

reminded me of the craft and the man
who loved literature.

The sun scrolled over the statues
as we commenced to write

laughter filling the silences of our creativity,
occasional applause,

and the walls seemed to imbibe our words
to mingle with others

who had written in rooms before us.

Food was collected refreshing us
with talk,
tethering our tasks of creativity, bonding

freeing words inscribed
strong as the oak tables – the books we breathe upon –

a cartoon of him has watched
listened to us with blessing.

Stephanie Acton
The car turned by the church
and through the dappled shade of the trees,

the entrance!
The crunch of gravel, pleasing to the ears

as the library rises to view.

The oversized table, fit for a banquet
dominated the room –

Though not my style, if ever
I were to dance on a table, it would be my first choice.

How mighty the tree to have made it must have been!
I pictured it, in its former life; branches tussled

by the breeze

as the leaves flit and glow in the wakening rays
of the sun.

David Varley
The car turned by the church,
inside the brass tray waited expectantly, a receptacle for thoughts and feelings.

The tranquillity is intimate,
working deep within the brain, “drawing out ideas so gently

that they seem not new
but old things half-remembered

into which fresh life is breathed by good companions.
Ideas and visions flit like motes in a sunbeam,

a movement slow but urgent, ready to be born in this companionship of silence.
How fitting that new words flow forth

in the presence of old stones,
no sound but the susurration of pen on paper.

Stephen B. Morrissey

We gathered around the table,
thirteen together to celebrate,

later on we became twelve.
Was that a sign in keeping with the place?

The theology of Jesus walks the corridors
building our faith or permitting us to challenge the cause.

A Gospel choir might well help us out.
So, if you see Selina again, please give her a shout.

Mark Acton 2019
The car turned by the church
inside the brass tray existed,
somewhere the tense changes.   Changed!

The high-backed, brown leather chairs lean back against the walls,
staring in at the writers’ pencils and pens
busily scratching away at the paper.

Shoulders hunched, heads down, faces contorted, lips pursed or tongues out
one hand rested on the notepad or the side of the head
while the other scribbles away.

There is rhythm in the markings
life in the words
but it is a separate life from all that is outside the room.

They don’t have to make sense.

The message can change from the brain; down the arm
to the hand and the pen and onto the page
and it can change again on reading

But each word reminds us
of a time or a place or a person or a feeling
or a taste.

It’s the last exercise of the day;
the last chance to say what needs to be said;
the last chance to move someone, scare someone, make them laugh;

the last chance to be moved by someone else.

Home time is approaching
and I’ve still not had any cake.
I’m not sure how Tom’s got through the day.

I want to fill this page.
I want to fill every page.
I want to go home and say, ‘look at how much I’ve done!’

But, mostly, I hope it inspires me to do some more.

This could be the start of something big
but I suspect it’s just a blot on nothing at all.

It was fun while it lasted
but now I’m going to grab one of those chocolate biscuits
and put my writing career to bed until next time.

Au revoir, my friends.
See you soon.

Shauna Leishman
The car turned by the church
inside the brass tray
glowing a greeting,
seating deeply in a soft chair

nearest the bookshelf, lamp nearby
pluck a book from the shelf;
while the kitchen offers hot drinks
cold cuts, creamy custards, gingerbread men.

Library shelves, dark brown wood grain
artful scaffolding, lofty space
peace descends, the books sit heavy
full of words, ideas, stories, notes of meetings;
history, science, drama sounds of life
silently waiting, waiting to be seen
the sun beckons, out into the garden
in back, wander around.
There’s a graveyard, stones reflecting in one line
a full life, some dates lived.

All my time’s here have been full of companionship.
I’ve been spoilt, don’t want to come alone:
 I can do alone in my own home.

After a day shut away from the world
the car turns back out of the little lane
back into the fuss and fury
back into the cares and duties.

The day is done.

Marion Smith

the car turns by the church
inside, the brass tray –

heads up; we listen for guidance
repeat, and repeat again,

mix colours, exchange birds
pass three to the left, four to the right.

Heads up, we listen again
abandon the guidance and write on.

Weaving, twisting, turning
considering our preconceptions,

taking the songs of others
like building blocks to make new structures

marrying word together
their offspring forming a new song –

I wonder what the grand old man
would think of our mental meanderings

would he smile or shake his head
in disbelief.

Mac Carding

The car turned by the church
inside a brass tray, waiting for silence

gathered in the Anwyl Room, the Vale Royal Writers Group
bicker and banter

eventually playing with colours in words
teal blue sea, vivid purple murder,

recounting first impressions of the Gladstone Library
then drawing stories from the lyrics of songs.

The group converges around specific chosen words
twist-dreams and Strut-strolls its stuff,

around a polished wooden table, so big that
thirteen can comfortably sit with

their A4 notebooks and pencils scratching
to write up their day.

Careful, considered pieces and humorous sketches,
imaginative tales and poetic description
have all been heard in this writing space –

this inspirational place

Tom Ireland
The car turned by the church.
Inside the brass tray waited

for donations, relief , hope
and an early sunrise saw

the old man and a wheelbarrow
hurrying through the streets

of the concrete town while
the sly slut strolled by.

The broken cross waited as
the down-graded day dawned

the car turned away,
searching for another destination

The maypole dancing kingfisher

Joyce Ireland
Turn by the church inside, the brass tray
sleeping with books is heaven on earth

reading, researching, writing the words;
choosing a salad and glasses of wine

croissants for breakfast, tea by the pot
prayers in the chapel or just a quiet thought.

Strangers to meet, later their friends
clerics in mufti the Chaplin is John.

The Staff ease your way, the interns are young,
fresh faced and clever they work all the week

small bursaries are theirs and they learn all the ropes
we work in the library or snooze in the lounge.


Liz Leech
The car turned by the church inside, the brass tray
we meet where a candle used to sit

the Anwyl  Room exudes people’s thoughts – prayers
we’ve come, each other to inspire

our brains to the fore.

The volumes on the library shelves
send a tingle through their spines

they beckon to delve in “books”
to take our pens and write

beyond the twisted stairs.

Bill Webster
The car turned by the church
inside the brass tray
then beyond the Alwyn Room
friends gathered there.

An exercise with cards
five blank then filled –
the colour of the sky
the colour of the foreground

a bird, a bird and an event.

Cards pass from hand to hand
the first four positions left
the second is where it breaks down
the Queen of Chaos casts her spell

hilarity reigns!

Coffee and cakes, we sit
around a table too small
we are challenged arriving at a place
for the first time, laying preconceptions to waste.

Lunchtime already,
we have two tables a more comfortable fit
unless you’re a vegan
who does not like mushrooms –
chocolate pudding in chocolate sauce
sets us up for more words

inspired by song lyrics
but still I don’t know
what to get a nudist for Christmas!

Word paints follow
choose one from each list
one short and explosive
the other slower, more thoughtful
contrasting words combine to inspire!

Now we are here
we reflect on the day

a poem written together
synthesising impressions
for posterity …


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