Published: Wednesday, 30th November 2022

Residents’ favourite memories and stories of Medway’s city centre have been weaved into a patchwork poem.

The exciting poetry project celebrates everything Chatham, and the surrounding areas, has to offer and was launched by Poet Laureate Simon Armitage when he visited Chatham Library earlier this year as part of his 10-year tour of libraries across the UK, using the alphabet as a compass.

Residents were encouraged to share their favourite memories, places, facts and historical stories of Chatham which have been included in the poem.

The poem is now on display in Chatham Library in Dock Road for residents to enjoy.

Chatham Patchwork poem 2022

On chance nights

we crack the river air with memories

that laugh like thunder.


My first Dickens festival, riding a galloping

wooden horse, whose tails would swoosh painted

bright red, laughing to myself, waving to the children,

like when I was 6. I was smiling today;

hello Chatham, in Medway, I heard myself say.


I remember hanging out in big green fields,

growing up playing Kerby and hanging out

down the Luton rec, those days were the best.

Bulldog was the game of choice.


Sitting by the lakes at Capstone Park,

listening to the birds and hearing dogs bark.

When sweets was cheap and money would last,

walking to school without a care, visiting the Links

for a cheap fizzy pop or two.

Princes Park was where I roamed.


At first, I planned my visits here,

to stop and enjoy the sun by the river.

It felt like holidays; gulls darting around,

the sound of boats on water,

warm rays on my skin.


I watch the people now, more than the birds.

There are regulars here. Seeing the familiar scenes

reassures me of life outside my own bubble.

It brings a sense of perspective

and I find peace here, sitting on a Medway bench.


I remember the Straw people lined up near the

Brook theatre, strong and purposeful,

dancing at the Sun Pier festival, knitting with wire.

I dream links of baby chain mail for the rats.


Latino's is my favourite place in the Pentagon.

After Lockdowns the first thing I did was return

there for coffee, where the Chatham Brook pauses,

before rushing out into Rat’s Bay.


I walked along the riverside, and drew a

breath full of reeds, with wildflowers,

filling my pathetic lungs asthmatically rid,

wishing I had bought a Tupperware box for the

juicy large blackberries, that I moved

around in my mouth, as I picked.


Up Maidstone Road, home to Chatham Town FC, 

I remember my brother, captain of St Mary’s catholic school

football team, holding the Cronin cup aloft, and my dad

filling it with coca cola, the sweetest it ever tasted.


Chatham, where no day is the same.

Chatham, where no matter your name,

culture, creed, or pigment of skin,

you will be always classed as kin.


Along Intra where memories are

stitched and woven into the bricks, guided by the

memory of William Cuffay’s steady tailor’s hands,

the acid plastic aroma of electricity burning

friends us, draws us, dressed as estuary mist.


Chatham is the place that become my home.

I like to still visit all these places now some are gone.

Memories last forever now my children come,

we all go these places together.


I stopped to write, by the river Medway,

I heard a person singing, their voice was like beauty,

she carried my poetry to her bosom and followed me

to Fort Amherst, Dockyard, then she disappeared, just like the

sun clearing the clouds, with their drawings gone.


Yet walk the streets of Medway and you will surely find

the living ghosts of history are never far behind.

The sound of brass and drums rolled out, black boots

in perfect time.


Soldiers trooped along Dock Road

parading guns and cannons, sailors piped aboard the

ships and passed the bull-nose fathoms.

The bustling River Medway, ships passing up and down,

cargoes from around the world unloaded in our town.


Children ran about the streets and

stood to watch in awe pageant scenes that filled

their world right outside their door.


Our towns have changed.

With what remains of good and old and grand,

We’ll build a better Medway, and give history’s

ghosts a hand.

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