A fragment of a folk song

I really am the queen of not getting on with writing. Though things are so interesting – and I like to be involved – and I’m not good at giving anything up. And I know sometimes things will result in writing at some point. One such topic is the Pentrich Rising, one of the last armed uprisings in the country, which happened in 1817. Last October I was asked to set up a Twitter account for the group planning the bicentenary commemorations, and I can never resist a call to Twitter. You can find out more if you follow us at @pentrichrevolt (when I’m not being @beckydeans @beckydeans1 or indeed @codnorcommon!)

This is fascinating secret history that probably directly involved my ancestors, who were living in the area at the time. Egged on by a government provocateur, called William Oliver, and led by passionate advocates for change, including Jeremiah Brandreth, a march was arranged for 9 June 1817, starting in this part of Derbyshire, through Ripley, Codnor, Langley Mill, Eastwood and on to Nottingham. Oliver told them a larger army of revolutionaries would join then in Nottingham.

Last night I went to see Lucy Ward play a fantastic concert at the National Forest Folk Club in Moira. And then it was writers’ group this morning. So I had the idea we should write folk songs – and that the subject might be the Pentrich Rising. Members of the group decided this would be a fascinating project ongoing, but wanted to do their research first, which seemed fair. But in the warm up, I came up with this. I thought I would share it with you, as it is so long since I have written this blog. And it might inspire you to come up with something better. Could you write a song to commemorate this hunger march?

And then came young Oliver

With hope in his sails

He talked of great thousands

In tune with his tales.

These people would meet us

In fair Nottingham

We pledged at that meeting

And so it began.

Then he just left us

But the seed had been sown

The only thing growing

In Derbyshire that June.

(C) Becky Deans 2015

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Resolutions, resolutions

So many years I have had the Writers’ and Artists’ Handbook poised at new year, thinking, say 2003, is going to be my year…. It wasn’t, though there’s a lot to look back on and edit.
This year I am going to put myself under zero pressure because pressure never got any short story finished. Pressure never researched magazines to send poetry to. Pressure doesn’t make you read your work out loud again after 16 years.
I always seemed to do better as part of a bunch of nice people so that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve set up a writers’ group in Ripley, my local town, and It was failing but I have resurrected it from the dead for 2015 (with help from Derbyshire CC). I’ve also made friends with other writers and we’re going to write together.
I am not going to join some critiquing group run by a ‘published’ author and rip others’ work to shreds. I’m going to pull out the positives. And although I’d dearly love to do a PhD, my son is too young, and anyway I need to learn how to be a writer outside academia.
And maybe if I do stick to my New Year’s resolution: more yomping, something will happen. After all, I never meant to buy and learn the flute last year….
Happy new year!

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Merry Christmas or whatever you are celebrating

Just a big thank you to everyone who stopped in to have a read of my work this year. After having a little break from creative writing, and definitely from the weekly criticism sessions at university, it means so much that you had a look, liked, shared….
Hope you have a lovely break and maybe get some time to do some writing. I am of course still copywriting (see beckydeans.co.uk for more on that one).
Best wishes

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Hoar Frost

It was an icy morning. Cold hung on everything
You gave me tea and toast, but that was all
When I stepped into the cold, you asked if I had a scraper
Then hid round the back of the double-glazed door as I worked to clear the car
Were you watching me leave or checking I’d gone?

(c) Becky Deans 2014

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The Taking – just found this in the book I use for workshops. #amwriting #amediting

The Taking

We knew the soldiers were coming
Hid in our beds, no one to protect us
Goods on the shelf waiting to be stolen

Before, that day, we had lessons
Cursed algebra, embraced Shakespeare
Explored China, played tag outside

Fell out, made up, ate lunch together
Made apple pie, but not custard
Remembered the gender of French nouns

Now we are herded, our worth in flesh
We learn knots we can’t untie
How to stay still and hope they do not come

We wait to be rescued, damsels
In distress, hair out for climbers
Life asleep in the stomach of a wolf

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You crazy cats: inspired by Louis Wain, about the human condition. new edit. #amediting #amwriting

Here’s a poem that I wrote between my BA and my MA, but with a new edit. I had taken the references to the miner’s strike out. I bought the print from an antiques shop on Derby Road, Heanor, when I was a teenager.

You Crazy Cats

For Louis Wain.

The cats, in uniform shades of black,

march to work in single file

carring a paper of ink black news for daily views

and a bowler hat.

Cast in similar size and shape

they zigzag their way through similar streets

that span the circumference of the earth

like a good belt that keeps things up and in.

It is a procession of sorts, they mourn

the passing of our lives.  Some smile, some frown

look up, look down, but none will wear a crown.

And indeed, never spats.


No underground hells shelter them.

Each cat has lost its voice: their last fight

lost eight lives and all mines.

So the cats file past in sombre black

waiting to be turned back.

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Twelve weeks to stop the diggers

Originally posted on beckydeans:

mob21 (2)

Twelve weeks to stop the diggers

We are but Common people.

You can see the furrows in our brows.

We only want to protect what is ours

And has been ours for centuries.

We only want to revel in what we love.

We hate change, of course we hate change

Oh how we hate the passing of the seasons.

It makes us cold.

They try to silence us

But they haven’t cut our tongues.

We threaten revolution

With every breath. We

bang drums. We

can even change our diction.

And when they threaten, we roar.

Poem (c) Rebecca Deans. Top picture (c) Rebecca Deans. Picture below (c) Friends of Codnor Common. www.codnorcommon.co.ukwww.twitter.com/codnorcommon


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