We meet on the 3rd Monday of the month at St. Cuthbert's from 2.00pm to 4.00pm. Everyone is welcome.
MEETINGS ARE CURRENTLY SUSPENDED DUE TO CORONAVIRUS. I SHALL NOTE THIS PAGE AND NOTIFY MEMBERS WHEN THEY RESUME.
During the lock down we continue to share poems on this web page.
On the third Monday of the month, our usual meeting date, I will post any poems on the theme (for which see the link "current programme"), plus any notes about them, that I have received during the previous week. Please let me have them by the Saturday. There is no need to provide the text of the poem so long as it is easily accessible on line.
On other Mondays I shall update this page to include any poems I have received and any news about poetry (or anything else) that you would like to share with the group. The poems can be on any subject. As I remove poems from the page each week I shall copy them into the link "Poems shared during the lock down" for anyone who has missed or wants to revisit them.
If you do not want to participate actively you can still join us in the reading of the poems.
The Laurel Prize: Simon Armitage is using his £5,000 a year honorarium as Poet Laureate to fund a prize for poetry that addresses climate change. It was due to be awarded at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park on 23.05.20 but has been postponed because of coronavirus, so we'll have to wait.
This week's poems
Locked In by Sadie Souter
I found this by chance on an online forum. Sadie, a 6th form student, wrote this in response to Simon Armitage's poem ‘Lockdown’. She says she's trying to achieve the same sense of intermingling suffering and hope. I am posting it now because despite the easements to lockdown it doesn't feel like much has changed.
We didn’t ask to be a part of history
yet here we are
Locked in, locked down
My four walls bury me six feet deep
My restless heart swimming
through a reverie of roses, tulips and lilies,
apple pies and bee stings and the smell
of fresh cut grass and dust after rain,
mountains crashing into the sky,
a thousand songs of the summer breeze
and the foam that lives on waves,
a turquoise dream. But I can’t sleep
My restless mind keeps thinking
of fevers, coughs and aching lungs
and the time that’s stolen, frozen, melting
into the palm of my hand
but I release it and quivering wings
flutter away, slowly but surely
I breathe in the silence and it fills me
like a balloon
Stretched out in the endless days
endless nights sprawling before me
Has a month ever felt this long?
Four walls of past, present, future, history
Here we are.
Three extras from last week's Water theme
Going for Water by Robert Frost (Muriel)
The well was dry beside the door,
And so we went with pail and can
Across the fields behind the house
To seek the brook if still it ran;
Not loth to have excuse to go,
Because the autumn eve was fair
(Though chill), because the fields were ours,
And by the brook our woods were there.
We ran as if to meet the moon
That slowly dawned behind the trees,
The barren boughs without the leaves,
Without the birds, without the breeze.
But once within the wood, we paused
Like gnomes that hid us from the moon,
Ready to run to hiding new
With laughter when she found us soon.
Each laid on other a staying hand
To listen ere we dared to look,
And in the hush we joined to make
We heard, we knew we heard the brook.
A note as from a single place,
A slender tinkling fall that made
Now drops that floated on the pool
Like pearls, and now a silver blade.
Song: Dew-drop and Diamond by Robert Graves
The only water aspect is the dewdrop, but I'm taking a liberal approach to the theme because I like it.
The difference between you and her
(whom I to you did once prefer)
Is clear enough to settle:
She like a diamond shone, but you
Shine like an early drop of dew
Poised on a red rose petal.
The dew—drop carries in its eye
Mountain and forest, sea and sky,
With every change of weather;
Contrariwise, a diamond splits
The prospect into idle bits
That none can piece together.
The waters chased him as he fled by Emily Dickinson (Muriel)
Muriel likes the spooky feel to this poem.
The waters chased him as he fled,
Not daring look behind --
A billow whispered in his Ear,
"Come home with me, my friend --
My parlour is of shriven glass,
My pantry has a fish
For every palate in the Year" --
To this revolting bliss
The object floating at his side
Made no distinct reply.
Leisure by W H Davies
If I had to choose one poem that chimes with our lives at the moment it would be this, with its reminder of how nature, which we are often too busy to observe, can enrich our lives. It comprises seven rhyming couplets.
What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
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