On occasion, my man is liable to be a little uppity. Even more worryingly, I have observed that when he is in such a frame of mind, he becomes hell-bent on overreaching his allotted station in life. Recently, I was subjected to a particularly perturbing example of such behaviour. Upon my return from the last meeting of the Pitshanger Poets, my man came rushing up to me to announce that he too was writing poetry. He then proceeded to inform me that he had been goggling avidly, and in the process discovered that quite a few poets were able to self-publish. He blurted out that even famous poets of relative antiquity such as Walt Whitman had brought a major work to the public, without the aid of publisher. He was going to take a leaf out of my book, he said. As the reader may well imagine, I maintained my usual calm demeanour throughout and I most certainly did not draw attention to any malapropisms. After all, ignorance is bliss.
Mulling over all this later, I realised that I would have to restrict my man’s access to the internet. Heaven only knows what he might come across otherwise. I shall have to make sure that he is limited to his beloved goggle box, at least until technological developments mean that this is no longer possible. But I have at least a little while to resolve this one, I hope. I did however work out for myself the process by which my man had lit upon this idea. He has recently become very friendly with a lady who is in the same line of work as himself. Her mistress is a well-known romantic novelist, who is about to publish her new blockbuster for herself, having just won a court case against her publisher. No wonder my man is somewhat buoyed up.
At least at the Poets, we do not need to be conscious of our station – in life, or anywhere else for that matter. We do not even sit in the same place each week, nor does the table take the same form. This week there were nine of us: I would say around the table, but it is basically rectangular. One must be precise after all, without affording the Platonists too much satisfaction. John Hurley read first today, his poem about a visit to the island of Guernsey as a haven of present peace, but with allusions to her role in the Second World War. Clare Glynn Chitan was on a longer journey through life with all its many players. Caroline Am Bergris debated the possibility of re-moulding an ex, with more than a nod to the Platonists. Martin Choules pondered the demise of the horse and by analogy the possible eternal presence of the human race. Gerry Goddin’s contribution was more in the twentieth century, about a supersonic poet with more than superhuman powers. David Hovatter’s poem was also about a former quasi-contractual relationship, some of whose clauses were still in place. Daphne Gloag brought the final section of her poem in the form of play-like dialogue inspired by matters astronomical. Helen Baker had written some observations of the audience at a recent Prom, and finally Owen Gallagner’s poem was also astronomical and musical, with its oblique references to the trouser role in those pioneering starry days before Mozart.
I remain concerned about my man’s state of mind. Now that he has the bit between his teeth, I shall have to rein him in, and if he discovers that Walt Whitman made it over to these shores (let alone to a meeting of the Pitshanger Poets), why then, I am undone.
If you have been, thank you for reading.