The Wanderlust Women – three poems

three poest

Poems from the Wanderlust Women, Lesley Benzie, Donna Campbell and Linda Jackson.   Recently performed on their trip to Tuscany.

At Dieppe

Lesley Benzie

At Dieppe the ferry approached

the same pale cream cliffs

that we left ahin in Newhaven.

A remnant that we were once

o the same landmass

afore risin sea levels an a tsunami

drooned the land-bridge atween us.


Still, at its closest point, the British

an French went on tae build a twinty mile lang tunnel

aboon the rubble o a war that cost 85 million lives.

Though nivver a dove, Churchill wis the first tae propose

a union, that has delivered the langest period

o peace in European history.


Drivin the campervan aff the ferry deck,

there dominatin Dieppe’s Quartier du Pollet 

on its eastern cliff, the Chapelle Notre-Dame

de Bonsecours owerlooks us.

Kent as the seamen’s kirk, its inner waas

filled wi memorials tae aa the souls

fa hiv lost their lives at sea. 


As the licht dims an the sky turns a deep lilac

wi a pink hue, fadin tae navy blue then black

though Ah’m nae a believer

Ah could drap tae ma knees an pray

as the Chapelle accompanied by a towerin

sculpture o the crucifixion lichts up.

It faces oot tae sea an towards the UK

like a beacon for those fa hiv lost their wye.


The next day, Ah read that Britain’s richest man

arch Brexiteer, Sir Jim Ratcliffe,

is leavin the UK tae go an bide in Monaco.

(Dieppe, France 2020)

Journey of a Lifetime

Donna Campbell

One day I will adorn my back with a rucksack

packed with essentials and board a train in Glasgow

with a Euro pass in pocket and not let time dictate

my route nor length of stay in any country that takes

my fancy, for this is a journey of a lifetime, one

I have saved for all my life with pennies dropped in

Piggybanks; later, notes deposited in savings accounts

of my local credit union.


I will throw away my phone, purchase a map of Europe,

each country an array of vibrant colour I can unfold,

mark my journey, watch the paper crumple with wear

and tear, spot with food when planning routes

eating Tortelli, Peirogi, Stroganoff, Schnitzel, Bratwurst, Pizza.


There are places that are a must: The Vatican, sighing bridges,

ancient catacombs, St. Basil’s Cathedral, hills groaning with crosses, Dracula Castles shrouded in mist. The list is endless.


One day I will board a train in Glasgow,

throw away my phone and wonder why it has taken so long

to venture from the old chip off the block that is the U.K.

(Glasgow, 2022)

Si Fermi Qui

Linda Jackson

Signor Capitano, si fermi qui

Sono tanto stanco, mi fermo si.

That day in the Casa d’Italia, elderly men wept.

Songs of the Partisans stirred the ancient river,

crossed il Ponte della Maddalena – 

there, at the wedding of my brother. 


Family from Barga celebrate 

surprised that this song from long ago

of tired young boys in the snow

 of Sommocolonia,

wading the Serchio River

surrounds and gathers us…still.


Fifty years have gone, in Barga finding family, 

voices and poems, wandering stories and songs

here in the Aula Culturale,

younger women repeat the refrain,

anti-war songs rise again 

for Ukraine and Russia – boys

North of the Black Sea,

Signor Capitano si fermi qui.

(Glasgow, Casa D’Italia, June 1973. Going to Barga, April 2022)

May, 2022

Wanderlust Women: Three Poets in Tuscany

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