Putting Rodborough on the map this past week is Coronation Road resident Stuart Butler whose poem, ‘I Like Living in Rodborough’ has been included in a national arts project that celebrates our rich and diverse local communities through verse.

Written over 20 years ago, Stuart’s poem has enjoyed a good deal of local appreciation thanks to it adorning the wall at Rodborough’s Community Hall. Now it’s set to come to wider readership thanks to Places of Poetry, an online database for community-themed poetry.

Established earlier this year as part of a joint initiative from the University of Exeter and Lancaster University, the project aims to inspire new writing and collect poetic perspectives on places throughout England and Wales.

Open to all ages and backgrounds, it serves as a directory for local poems to be shared with poetry enthusiasts across the British Isles, using an online, interactive map to literally puts creative submissions from readers on the map.

Stuart’s poem was chosen and recommended to readers for “its deep knowledge and appreciation of a lived, loved environment.” Stuart agrees it is a subject matter that holds great fascination: “My genre is history in the landscape and Places of Poetry reflects that interest perfectly,” he says.

Stuart has been a resident of Rodborough for some 30 years and runs the literary website RadicalStroud.co.uk. “Rodborough holds a fascination for me as it is neither in the countryside, nor is it urban. Buildings are both in the Cotswold stone and red brick. I relish its suburban feel where the town begins to fade, but is not yet country.”

Stuart’s poem can be read below, or via the Places of Poetry website which will be open to submissions until 4 October 2019.

For more on Stuart Butler’s work, visit RadicalStroud.co.uk and his next literary tour (free but booking essential) will be to London on 21 June 2019 and will cover the work of Thomas Spence. Bookings via Stuart Butler at stfc12@hotmail.com.

I Like Living in Rodborough

I like living in Rodborough,

I like the warm red brick from Stonehouse,

And the mortar mixed with soot,

To save on Edwardian costs of sand:

It’s like reading The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists,

With cost-cutting and profiteering,

With pavements and houses for pages:

King’s Road, Queen’s Road, Coronation Road -

I can see the children playing careless

In the carless streets;

I can hear the horses’ hooves,

In that long Edwardian summer before 1914;

I like the sound of a name like Spillmans Pitch:

The smell of gaslight in dark winter;

I like the sound of the suburb’s gardens:

Always some birdsong, no matter the season;

I like the way the church confidently stands

At the top of tree-lined Walkley Hill;

I like the causewayed thoroughfare’s railings,

I like the rectory gardens, the fete,

The hidden gardens and sculptures;

I like the bowling green tucked behind the pub;

I like the way The Prince Albert stands high

At the Cotswold stone turnpike crossroads,

With a telephone kiosk and post box;

I like a name like Butterow,

I like the Rodborough Glebe allotments;

I like the Common and its sunset views,

High across the silver Severn to Sugar Loaf;

I like the Rodborough football pitch,

And the way it nestles above celandined meadows:

I like the walk to the ice cream factory,

And the creaking of the high reach beech trees

Around Tabernacle Walk and Little London;

I like the tollhouse and the chapels,

I like the ghost-tread of handloom weavers,

I like their packhorse contour routes;

I like the railway, the mills, the canal;

I like the grey stone school on Rodborough Hill,

I like the reassuring security,

The past and present continuity –

I like the way you can drift down wormholes of time:

Quite simply,

I like living

In Rodborough,

In Stroud.