Tag Archives: Carolyn P Richardson

Another Titanic postscript

This must be the final posting about Titanic, at least for this year. It comes from Carolyn Richardson. We started with a poem by Rosie Topping about the Unknown Child, whose body was much later identified. Carolyn’s is about the same child.

Carolyn says this about the story behind the poem:

The name of the Titanic Unknown Child found floating in the sea 5 days post the iceberg hit the ship, has been revealed by dna analysis.

The 19 month baby boy was named as Sidney Leslie Goodwin, whose parents were Frederick and Augusta Goodwin.

Thanks to Clarence Northover, a police officer attending the burning of the clothing of those lost to the tragedy to thwart souvenir hunters, saved a shoe.

Northover couldn’t bring himself to accept the burning of the tiny shoe, so he put it in his drawer at the police station. After retirement he brought it home where he packed it into a drawer

After his death, his grandson found it, donated it to the maritime Museum of the Atlantic in Halifax  & where it was turned over to forensics to reveal the owner of the shoe.

Sidney had five other siblings whom, with their parents on the same liner, were hoping to start a new life in America. They had switched to the Titanic from the SS New York after it became possible for the eldest child, 16-year-old Lillian, to join them. They switched to third class from second to save money and give themselves a faster start when they arrived.

Sadly none survived.


Tiny Shoe


frozen bodies,
stiff as a board


acrid police piles
souvenir hunters

sadly cruel
for the lost
who double

embers are
not remembrances
nor embraces

one tiny shoe
soft as your heart

sea-secrets of
six siblings swept
wash into


salt tears
sea to
no longer

Carolyn Richardson is a poet, painter with work in the Public Catalogue, now re-branded as ArtUK, a maker of filmed poems and a guerrilla poet in the wilds of Dumfries & Galloway. Carolyn has been a Director of the Scottish Writers Centre and long listed for the Ted Hughes Award for New Work, both 2015 & 2016. She spends some of the year abroad in the National Booktown of Montolieu in the South of France. http://www.poetrykitchen.co.uk

Her pamphlet Scots Rock is recently published by Red Squirrel Press.



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Split Screen at Manchester Lit Fest

Brian and I reading our Dr Who poems.
Photo courtesy of Chris Keller-Jackson

Featuring: Brian Johnstone, Andrew Philip, Sally Evans, Jo Bell, Julie Boden, Carolyn Richardson, Charlie Jordan, Andrew McMillan and Angela Topping.

Having taken part in two Split Screen readings so far, one at Norwich with George Szirtes, Helen Ivory, Martin Figura and Andy Jackson, the editor, and one at Callander Poetry Festival with Andrew Philip, Carolyn  Richardson, Sheila Templeton, Sally Evans, who performed Yoda with props, in a never-to-be forgotten paper hat, and others, I was greatly looking forward to the Manchester event. Each one has been special in its own way, as different contributors have attended each time, and Andy gives us the chance to choose poems we enjoy reading in addition to our own, to make for a varied show.

The poems in the anthology, from Red Squirrel Press, are placed in juxtaposition, with, for example, Marilyn Monroe opposite Doris Day; Max Miller V Ken Dodd; Pete and Dud, Kirk and Picard. The Manchester launch was special to me because it was the first time my Dr Who poem on Jon Pertwee had been performed back to back with Brian Johnstone’s Tom Baker one. It’s been rare at performances that both of the poets are there.

Each event is chaired by Andy Jackson, the editor, who came up with the quirky idea in the first place and who puts together a workable running order and a slideshow of the relevant characters and shows. All this helps the show to be slick. Andy creates the illusion of an evening’s TV watching at some point in the past, with adverts in the middle and a poem about closedown and the white dot at the end. These poems have been performed at every launch, but at both Callander and Manchester, we were lucky enough to have both their authors, Sally Evans and Andrew Philip, there to read them. Ian Parks’ ‘Flake’ poem and Adam  Horovitz’ ‘Orange poem’ have been chosen at most of the launches, to be read by others. After the ‘9pm watershed’ the poems are more hard hitting, less ‘family’ than the ones before the ads. And the show ends with The National Anthem, which we all stand for with great solemnity, only to be treated to a surprise which I wouldn’t want to reveal here: its delight lies in the unexpected.

The poems are wide ranging. Some are hilarious, some moving, some reflective. The standard of performance has been top notch at every event.  This anthology reaches a wide audience as the programmes and films included are ones that transcend age and generation, and have in many cases become cult viewing. The poets offer new slants on familiar things and a second book is in the offing. I’ve been delighted and humbled to be involved in this project and there are more events to look forward to in the series. Glasgow, Newcastle and Pitlochry are coming up fast. If you can’t get to the show then at least you can read the poems, if you buy the book.

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