Poetry on the benches
Lines of poetry created during the Park Bench project are now on benches in Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens.
Conkers and toadstools and jump,
Skip and breathe the air.
Echoes of a million memories
Made by you and me
This Abbey is here for all to see
So sit and let the heart go free
It is a mystery, why
in this place I feel like myself.
Paul Dagys, Secret Places
B here in the moment as time
Stretches towards you.
Robert Marsh, Kearsney
Out where darkness stood
We escape to childhood
Above ice house and orangery, shades of Minet,
Fector and Crundall hover the weeded lawn
surrounding the crippled Cedar.
Gavin Wright, Kearsney Abbey.
Lines in the landscape.
Moments in time.
Emerald cataracts tumble b’twix
Cerulean boughs, Siren Swan Song
And in my heart will be content
The Dover District Council May 10th 2021 press release says:
Sitting on a park bench has always been a place for quiet reflection and now visitors to Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens can pause for a poetic interlude as we mark Mental Health Awareness Week, with this year’s theme, Connect with Nature.
A series of ten plaques each with a line of poetry, both as words and in braille, have been added to benches in Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens as part of Art in the Park: Kearsney Interpreted, a creative collaboration with Dover Arts Development (DAD) and funded by the Arts Council.
Local poets, visual artists and musicians contributed to the Park Bench project, taking their creative inspiration from sitting on a bench in the parks. The works were brought together into a video with an original soundtrack by Dover Arts Development.
The lines of poetry engraved on the park benches were chosen by Year 9 pupils at Astor College and were contributed by local artists Sophie Aunger, Fiona Beddow, Richard Bundy, Paul Dagys, John Fuller, Chevonne Lane, Robert Marsh, Petra Matthews-Crow, Simon Partridge, and Gavin Wright.
Jennifer Coller, Kearsney Parks Project Manager, said: “The past year has underlined how important our parks and open spaces are to our mental well-being. There’s nothing like a stroll through the park or a moment of reflection sat on a park bench to clear the mind.
“We’re delighted to have worked with the Arts Council and Dover Arts Development to use the Kearsney Parks as a canvas for local artists. We hope the benches will inspire others to discover the parks and unleash their creativity.”
Joanna Jones, Director of the Park Bench project and of Dover Arts Development, with artists Clare Smith and Louisa Love, said: “It’s wonderful that poetry created within the Park Bench project will continue to give pleasure and inspiration on a daily basis in Kearsney Abbey and Russell Gardens.”
Alongside the Park Bench project, Art in the Park: Kearsney Interpreted also features 10 artist residencies designed to explore the landscape designs, ecology, social and industrial heritage of the parks.
Featuring a number of recently graduated and early career artists from the local area, the residences leave a legacy of art, sculpture, poetry, and films that can be enjoyed by visitors to the Kearsney Parks for many years to come.
Photo of Simon Partridge : Paul Dagys