Monday, March 2, 2009


in The Garden
Poems of the
Saxon Shore Way
Barbara Dordi
Russi Dordi

Publisher: Sawd Books
an imprint of Sawd Publications
Suite 62 Bell Road

ME10 4HE
ISBN 1 872489 15 X

Cover design: Russi Dordi

41 poems by Barbara Dordi
10 colour illustrations by Russi Dordi.

This, my first chapbook came into being as a result of walking 140 miles of the Kent coastline from Gravesend to Rye as it allegedly was in Saxon times. I am very grateful to Alison Wainwright of Sawd Books for having the courage to take on this then, unknown writer.

During the 18 months we took to walk the Shore Way, we travelled over 1000 miles by car to and from the start of each section of the walk - there being 10 sections in all (according to the Saxon Shore Way guides produced by the Kent area of the Ramblers Association in co-operation with the Footpaths Section of Kent County Council.) We rarely did circular walks, always opting to get back by bus, train or car (if we were fortunate enough to have friends with us).

It was a fascinating project - showing us parts of the county we would never otherwise have visited, and making us see the Kent we knew in a very different light. We marvelled at the beauty and richness of the country's flora and fauna, and were inspired to delve into Kent's extraordinary history.

We met interesting people from all walks of life who were generous with anecdotes and memories of their unique experience of living and working here.

We enjoyed walking and working together: each privetly being moved by the same experience in different ways, painting sparking off poetry and vice versa, or both going in completely independent directions.

Walking the Saxon Shore way gave us a curious sense of identity with the path as well as a particular familiarity with, and affection for, Kent, our adopted county. I can thoroughly recommend getting out there and experiencing it for yourselves.

Extract: Page 5
Under polystyrene,
under seaweed and shells
of the Thames' high water mark
they lie:
Saxons, invisible,
until we walk their Shore Way.
Above grey stone rubble,
above brambles and weeds
of General Gordon's fort,
bare sky:
Shornmead, demolished
until we think of Khartoum.
In gun emplacements
with misty river views we rest,
in a time warp we take shelter:
soldiers, scarlet-clad,
leap into the day
firing technicolour.

Saxons in the Garden – Poems of the Saxon Shore Way
Barbara Dordi
Sawd Books, 1995.
ISBN 1-872489-15-X £4.95

"...Many characters from Kent’s long history are recalled, from Hengist and Horsa to the Duke of Wellington and General Gordon; literary figures are not overlooked. There is nostalgia for the desecrated and once green open country, and visions of the old barges in full sail as she observes the rotting hulks on the banks and mudflats of the Medway.
Some poems are humorous, even acerbic, but most are ethereal as she paints pictures with her words. The colour illustrations by her husband are both abstract and figurative..."

Brenda Hook
1996, The Ramblers Association
To purchase a copy of Saxons in The Garden please contact the publishers direct - address above.

Bird's Eye View
Sleep, Beauty


Before the spell you wound inland
carried barges to the wooden jetty
and waiting gangers glad of work.
They loaded bricks, hay, cement -
horsedrawn carts wheeled through your mud.

Ambling ways kept you safe
from wind's heavy knife sculpting
pointed waves, in cahoots with the scouring
tide of the Swale without:
your isolation preserved you.

Spell cast, you left no documents
to furnish sea-dog tales; just
the jetty, ghostly silhouette now,
creek silt-sinking under Progress
and five decades before the kiss.

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