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Ted has been an organiser of Poets Anonymous, Croydon, since 1991 helping bring them from a house-to-house workshop group to one known in many poetry organisations in the UK.

He has helped with ten Poetry Plus festivals and read with them at festivals and on the, now absent, Croydon FM.

He has been judge, jury and executioner for children’s and adults’ poetry competitions; undertaken poetry and art workshops (often with Crispin Thomas Football Poets) for children in schools, libraries and football clubs in London and Surrey, and for inmates at four prisons in Wales; read in poetry venues and theatres from Chichester to Edinburgh, Inside and outside the the Poetry Libraries in London and Edinburgh; and has appeared on BBC radio stations in England and Wales, for television’s News 24, and as guest of the West End Gospel Choir at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

Currently completing the last poems for his forthcoming book ‘At the Backs of Shops and Houses’ and working with Peter Evans at Croydon Radio on the monthly Poets Anonymous Poetry programme and loving every moment of it.

Here, below, are some of the poems Ted has had published.  Click on the titles or scroll down.

 

 

 

 

 

The Poems

Customer Service (Rant No.1)
The lament of Rick Rodgers

Dandelion

Summer

Evening 2009 (Rant No.5)

La Toilette

The Sofa

I Wanna Walk With You

This Is a Tiger Wall

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                   

                   

                  Customer Service. (Rant No.1)
                  The lament of Rick Rodgers.

                  Yes I work here.
                  All of us wearing H and B shirts work here.
                  No, M and S is up the road
                  Yes I
                  m on the till
                  No, I don
                  t know how long you’ve been waiting.
                  There will be no operator-
                  That till, is out of order.
                  Yes, you still have to queue up.
                  Yes, in this queue.
                  Ah! You want to lose weight?
                  You’ll
                  like our diet plans,
                  Oh, you don
                  t want to diet.
                  There
                  s our training supplements!
                  You don
                  t want to work out.

                  Is that in the sale?
                  Was it on the sale shelves?
                  With all the other dried fruits.
                  No, sunflower seeds are not dried fruit.
                  The nuts, sir? - Over there,
                  Under the sign that says NUTs.
                  On the wall covered in nuts.
                  Yes - over there ……SIR.
                  No the magazine is not free- it
                  s a pound.
                  Yes even if you spend £50- it
                  s still a pound.
                  I
                  m sorry but the sunflower seeds are only £3.50.
                  Look beside the word- PRICE
                  ONE POUND.
                  Yes, SIR I might sound aggressive
                  But I
                  m never STUPID.
                   

                  © Ted Smith-Orr, Oct 2008.

                   

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                  Dandelion

                  I love you angular nature that shows no kindness
                  Or mercy to the timid and weak.
                  Your spiteful beauty gives refuge to the small,
                  Yet one sting recoils a brave enquiry.
                  I love you carpet valleys, green and stained:
                  Secret lanes and tracks that twist and jump
                  Then double back; laughing at their wit.
                  Hills that strain and ache to meet their height.

                  I love you mysterious embankments, reflecting
                  Chalk ghosts in night mist. The Silver Birch;
                  Glowing in the dark and dappled by day.
                  Why did nature cheat one as elegant as you?
                  I love you hedgerows with frightened hair
                  And arrogant trees that shed their clothes
                  In defiance of winter. The ignorant leaf
                  That dances in headlights, pirouettes and dies.
                  I love you badger, red fox: how you forage
                  And scamper ageless runs, regardless of the roads.
                  The furtive owl that fakes a passive role,
                  Surreptitious, overhead.
                  I love you rainwater; streaming and gushing,
                  Flowing down roads, washing all that precedes you.
                  How you shape your own channels and find your home.
                  I love you single dandelion; who breaks the
                  Concrete slab and reminds the non-believer,
                  You have persistence that we will never know.

                  Ted S-O.

                   

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                  Summer

                  Air Clear-
                  Reveals forgotten scenery,
                  Answering the winter’s questions:
                  Patches of flower heads bow in the lazing grass.
                  Whispers in ochre fields.
                  Singing poppy carpets dance in waves.
                  Swaying elderberry islands
                  Oscillate in clusters,
                  Tease cow parsley cousins
                  On stalks in hedgerows.
                  Trees: Full blood, dominate,
                  Like green doves- Proud.
                  Ivies spread,
                  Sequinned in tambourine bells.
                  Whilst sun dabs on roadways
                  Blur the asphalt yellow.
                  Dragonflies and butterflies
                  Chance a fragile show.
                  People... Aimless, ambling,
                  Children playing endlessly
                  In sand and sea:
                  While flashlights
                  Pizzicato
                  On the crests of waves.

                  Ted S-O...

                   

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                  Evening 2009. (Rant No 5)

                  Somewhere between the landslide
                  Of interminable work and housing payments:
                  Everlasting bills of electricity, water and
                  Gas from Utility gangsters;
                  The day’s events are recollected
                  By each individual in a large family.
                  Including the youngest who speaks teenage:
                  A language so foreign we need an interpreter.
                  I answer the telephone and the void of silence
                  Gives me an overwhelming sympathy for drug addicts
                  Or it’s a voice from overseas selling me something I already have
                  Or not selling something that I definitely do not want
                  While eating my evening meal.
                  As I undertake intensive sofa studies,
                  All that I ever dreamed of: a customer calls;
                  Asking if I can work for them.
                  I frown the frown of the tiredness
                  While smiling horse’s teeth and promises
                  To an unknown ear too near for comfort.
                  My bank has merged with another that’s gone under
                  And they’ve cut our overdrafts to pay their debt.
                  The mortgage has increased and my pay cheque's are in the post.
                  The credit crunch arrived here before Sub Prime Mortgages
                  Was even a cliché.
                  And Woolworth’s was a place you avoided like the plague.
                  Between all this the income tax is still outstanding
                  And the vat man wants his money back.
                  And between all this there is time to write a poem.

                  © Ted Smith-Orr, 7th March 2009

                   

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                  La Toilette
                  Reminiscent of Degas.

                  You bidet in the basin.
                  Foam, clinging to the ceramic surfaces,
                  Finding a slow route to the floor.
                  The folds of your body
                  Merging with the folds in your clothes.
                  Daylight and shadows of trees
                  Decorate the room. Strands of your hair
                  Reflected in the mirror.
                  You smile or sing a happy song;
                  A hymn or a nursery rhyme.
                  Or hum along to a tune on the radio.
                  At your feet: your clothes
                  Laying in the order you removed them.
                  A still life or sculpture,
                  At least a snapshot
                  To immortalise this private intimacy.

                  © Ted Smith-Orr, 6/7 Oct 1999.
                  Arranged 12.7.2000
                  Rearranged 12.06.2010

                   

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                  The Sofa.

                  She
                  Shook her head
                  Sitting on the sofa in a state of disbelief
                  Not expressing grief.
                  No holding hands
                  No clasping close.
                  He
                  Held his breath
                  Sitting in a chair
                  Melancholic relief
                  Wanting to be brief
                  Seeing her soft skin
                  Looking pasty thin;
                  Sending out alarms
                  Hold me in your arms
                  Cuddle me too close
                  To me
                  You are the most.
                  Neither of them dared
                  A love that they both shared
                  Knew it would be cruel
                  Emotive renewal;
                  Minds and bodies aching
                  Sensualities relating
                  Feeling somehow ill
                  Knew to be quite still.
                  Now it’s time to go
                  An Hour past zero:
                  Standing up to pass
                  Each other’s coffee glass,
                  What have I forgot
                  The book that you have got.
                  Please forget me not.
                  Ten a past the clock.
                  Kiss upon the cheek
                  Feel a little weak.
                  Tester just to close
                  Tweak a little nose.
                  Knee against the jeans.
                  Mustn’t make a scene
                  Brush against her breast
                  No more to be caressed.
                  A look. A glance
                  Another chance:
                  Erotic fantasy;
                  They knew it must not be.
                  They both see the door:
                  It opens and it closes.
                  Closes and it opens
                  And closes once again.
                  But neither was exposed
                  To the outside elements.
                  It opened- they parted.
                  It closed …
                  He farted and walked into bush.
                  They laughed and laughed
                  Ascending to the sky
                  And they departed as they had met:
                  In peels and peals of laughter
                  Which echoed through the air
                  And swelled into the night.
                  And they evaporated
                  Into the infinity of time.

                  © Ted Smith-Orr, 1991
                   11.06.2010

                   

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                  I Wanna Walk With You

                  Where cars line up like dogs on heat
                  And televisions compete for airtime
                  Across the narrow streets.
                  Where builder’s blocks grow in flower beds,
                  Fertilised with bagged cement
                  And scaffold poles provide the frames for ivy.
                  I wanna walk with you
                  Down alleyways
                  Where bricks grin out from cracks in walls
                  And wired lights, amber apprentice lovers,
                  Exchanging parts in doorways.
                  Where “Free George Davies “brushstrokes
                  Peer out from high art aerosols: Proclaiming;
                  “Crystal Palace F.C. rule. OK?”
                  Endorsed “UK. Love, the Phantom Scroler.”
                  I wanna walk with you
                  Show you the blood of life trickle down canals,
                  Past skeletons of chrome,
                  With wheels that spin the changing times.
                  And polythene drifts airily: ghosting signs of progress;
                  Mobile Phones, Superstores and Car Parks.
                  And the shrill of children swimming
                  Is a photograph in books.
                  I wanna dance with you
                  To the tap of heals on pavements,
                  The kiss of passing nylon.
                  To songs of bright red lipstick,
                  Where fairground songs from pubs
                  Tattoo their neon beat on men
                  Slurring love for ‘er indoors;
                  Stewing words, for when he walks in the door.
                  I wanna walk with you
                  Into tradesmen’s shops
                  Patel’s always open
                  Burgers and Take Away's - ten to the yard.
                  Nat’s Fresh Fish, the Asian Polish Express.
                  Scissor Happy and Styles by Barber Jack.
                  Children and minders. Men and women at work.
                  Lorries reversing down alleyways...
                  Tailbacks. People in cars...
                  Trains Late, Buses late.
                  People queuing
                  Everyone going...
                  Somewhere.

                  © Ted Smith-Orr

                   

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                  This is a Tiger Wall

                  Cross bred and punctured with leopard spots.
                  With pythons overlapping worms,
                  Iron webs stretching to every floor.
                  A wet eyed house,
                  An orange haired Celtic house,
                  Bringing in the New Year at weekends
                  Roaring song’s of whisky.
                  This is a Bob Marley, Rastafarian music house,
                  Drifting Caribbean rhythm smoke through every pore,
                  Saxophone’s permeating the morning night.
                  This is a can’t get out of place,
                  With poetry stairways and fresco walls ,
                  Artist’s on every floor.
                  Where everyone knows each other
                  And know not to ask their business.
                  This is a nightime house
                  With a painted panelled door
                  Where the bell push shouts, “Don’t enter.”
                  And the thud of flesh resounds
                  On steel stairs.
                  Yes, this is a tiger house and these are tiger walls:
                  Where the rent don’t get paid.
                  And when the man calls... They’re gone-
                  To the caff... the park... to nowhere
                  Or never lived here at all.

 

 

 

                  © Ted Smith-Orr, 2011/12

                   

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