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SARH customers use verse to celebrate the world around them
A retired Pentecostal pastor has scooped top honours in a poetry competition organised by Stafford’s leading provider of affordable homes.
As part of celebrations to mark National Poetry Day, Stafford and Rural Homes (SARH) asked customers to pen their thoughts on ‘taking notice’ of the world around them.
Dozens of budding Wordsworths rose to the challenge with 63-year-old Cynthia Keaton Tennant’s words catching the eye of judges, including SARH Chief Executive Karen Armitage.
“Cynthia’s lovely poem really does capture the spirit of the competition, which encouraged customers to take a closer look at the world around them and what’s really important in life,” Karen said.
Originally from Atlanta in the USA, Cynthia has lived in Stafford for the past 14 years and now lives at a SARHomes Independent Living Scheme.
Over the past two years she has written no less than 346 pieces of poetry including verses about the Queen, Prime Minister Theresa May and Pope Francis, which have been shared with Buckingham Palace, Downing Street and the Vatican.
Cynthia says she finds inspiration all around her and on hearing she had won the competition, said: “I really love the people of Stafford and so to have my work recognised by SARH means a lot to me.
“I always carry a pen and paper with me wherever I go as the inspiration for a verse can come at any time, I have to write my thoughts down as soon as the words come into my head.”
The competition was run by SARH as part of a series of activities designed to encourage improved health and wellbeing across the areas it serves.
Karen added: “We often think about physical activity as the best way to stay healthy but it’s equally important to exercise the mind and poetry is a great way to get the brain cells working whilst observing the world around us and expressing our feelings.”
Runners up in the competition, which is set to become an annual event, were Mrs Palphreyman from Stafford and the residents of St George’s Road and Leonard Avenue who all added a line to their highly-regarded entry.
Take Notice, by Rev Keaton Tennant, Hopton Court
Take notice of the world around you,
for it changes everyday;
Nothing to ever be the same,
whether at work rest or play;
Take notice of your family,
for they should be dear to you;
On happy times or sad times,
on everything you do;
Take notice of your neighbours,
for they are your fellow man;
Whether over cups of tea or mending the garden fence,
you help the best way you can;
Take notice of your friends,
for your friends are a reflection of you;
Whether good or bad, through thick and thin,
true friends stick with you through and through;
Take notice of yourself,
though not perfect you are all you are;
If you want to make a change just look at yourself,
with this you should go far;
Take notice of this advice I give you,
for it’s never done me wrong;
Always remember that your life can change,
and that change doesn’t take very long.
Pictured: SARH Chief Executive Karen Armitage and poetry competition winner Cynthia Keaton Tennant.