Brighton’s rich heritage in poetry is reflected not only in the streets of ‘Poets Corner’ (Shelly Street, Wordsworth Road etc) but also in its current thriving poetic culture.
Brighton-born poet Diana Ward-Davis is a member of Poets Cornered, who meet fortnightly, and she also drops in on Brighton Poetic Society. Invited to open mic sessions from time to time she keeps her finger on the poetic pulse of the city.
Diana has been published a few times and has produced a book of poems entitled ‘Views of a Brightonian’, from which the following poems are taken. Written from an observer’s viewpoint, animating childhood memories, her work is mainly ‘of the day’ exploring experiences each day brings.
These three poems reflect Diana’s deep attachment to the West Pier and her sorrow at its neglect.
‘West Pier’ was written as Diana was waiting between the two piers for a coach. As she waited, dusk came down and the West Pier slowly disappeared from her view. With only an empty paper bag (which for a while had held a jam donut) and pencil, she scribbled words onto the crinkled paper.
‘Peril on the local Sea bed’ was written directly after the fire on the West Pier, and ‘Dark Night’ was inspired by the first line of Shelly’s poem ‘To the Night’, a reminder of this once graceful piece of Victorian architecture, now perceived as a declining wreck due to continued neglect and damage.
For more information about her work, Diana can be contacted by email at email@example.com
Photograph of West Pier (below) by Terry Busby www.terrybusbyphotography.com
West Pier (1995)
I am in a deep deep sleep
As the Ocean sways above
My firmly planted feet.
Those walking the land
Require gratification of the hand
Few, will understand my plight
On this… and every other night.
I look across at sparkling light
Music inharmonious to the ear.
Night skies come down
And I appear to disappear
Yet I am here!
This sleep enforced on me
Mists as I stand… dreaming
Of glorious Victorian days
When viewed as highly aesthetic.
Now decorative domes despair
And fall apart
While I wait and weep
Within my heart.
Peril on the local sea bed (2003)
Disbelief in the view seen through narrowing eyes
Witness vicious flame before smoulders arise
Ocean wisdom holds her long strong legs
Starlings shrieked above at loss of nests and eggs
Abandoned during fire she emerged in humility
A Silhouette on the horizon following travesty
Ultimately disenchanted she waits long alone
A skeleton of time on her conquered throne
An exposed ghost a broken shell remains
Of the Victorian era now future demolition gains
A perpetual eyesore an anarchic space
Currently shamed, and a Civic disgrace.
Dark Night (2006)
Swiftly walk over the western wave,
Spirit of the night!
See if the demolished maiden turns
Or breaks her chains of timeless motion
before the tide rises to sink her skeleton
barely standing side by side near
Where are the guardians posted
last Millennium to watch over her?
Did they desire death by fire and water?
The Castle of altered name
knows her shame
In the midst of persistent persuasion.
To summit to the Grave to be put to rest
A silhouette on Heaven’s line cast
in memory and fond esteem,
an ever flowing stream of beauty… lost.
Death will come when night of the dark
Moon is Done
Soon, too soon!
Photo: West Pier, Brighton by Terry Busby www.terrybusbyphotography.com