What is poetry town?

Poetry Town began in 2015 with a weekly poem displayed in the window of Kirkdale Bookshop. Following overwhelmingly positive responses from customers we have decided to partner with Sydenham Arts to build on the idea and fill Sydenham with poetry­ not just by famous poets but by local people, both young and old.
1st Prize We Could Be Heroes ! Mr. Williams by Doreen Hinchliffe
8th August 2018

He swished through the door,

his long gown rippling behind him,

his dog, Argo, following in its wake.


Mr. Williams.  My hero.


Arms raised at shoulder level 

to illustrate the meaning of ‘horizontal’,

he stood like a black-winged god,

his deep Welsh voice rising and falling

through the dust of the chalk-filled air.


Spellbound, I listened

as he unveiled the mysteries

of maths, invited us to savour

the wonder of its accoutrements.

He introduced each instrument

as if it were a minor miracle –


wafer-thin protractors with alluring curves,

sleek set squares and six-inch rulers,

shiny silver compasses that balanced

elegantly on their points and pirouetted

over exercise-books, arms outstretched

to clutch their newly-sharpened pencils

and wheel them round in perfect circles.


We worked in a silence

broken only by the snores of Argo,

his golden-labrador head resting

on his paws, his ears twitching

whenever he sensed his master stir

to scupper a potential whisper.


Mr. Williams. My hero.


Every lesson, I looked forward to

amazing revelations, high-speed calculations,

the gorgeous sounds of a new language –

sine and cosine, trigonometry and tangent,

integer, parabola and golden ratio.


The day I left, I made a list of all

his favourite sayings, hoping

to conjure him back in the future

by chanting them over and over –


Mathematics is an art, a kind of poetry,

Wherever there is number, there is beauty……….