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.
Smalltown Dance by Judith Wright
1st August 2018

Two women find the square-root of a sheet.

That is an ancient dance:

arms wide: together: again: two forward steps: hands meet

your partner’s once and twice.

That white expanse

reduces to a neat

compression fitting in the smallest space

a sheet can pack in on a cupboard shelf.


High scented walls there were of flapping white

when I was small, myself.

I walked between them, playing Out of Sight.

Simpler than arms, they wrapped and comforted—

clean corridors of hiding, roofed with blue—

saying, your sins too are made Monday-new;

and see, ahead

that glimpse of unobstructed waiting green.

Run, run before you’re seen.


But women know the scale of possibility,

the limit of opportunity,

the fence,

how little chance

there is of getting out. The sheets that tug

sometimes struggle from the peg,

don’t travel far. Might symbolise

something. Knowing where danger lies

you have to keep things orderly.

The household budget will not stretch to more.


And they can demonstrate it in a dance.

First pull those wallowing white dreamers down,

spread arms: then clse them. Fold

those beckoning roads to some impossible world,

put them away and close the cupboard door.