I would not want any of the more adventurous, cosmopolitan readers, alighting at here at our virtual Pitshanger Manor on their way from (for example) ‘RC Mojo’, the British Radio Control Blog, and briefly pausing before skittering off to Amdram.net, the social network for amateur theatre, to come away with the impression that Poetry is a hobby. It is not. Poetry is not, as Thomas Stearns would have it ‘just one of your holiday games’ (passionate about naming he may have been but I have it on good authority that Eliot used to refer to all of his cats as ‘Tiddles’). Clear evidence of this assertion can be drawn from the fact that poets are famous for their hobbies – Eliot himself took great pleasure in his long-term idle pass-time of book publishing. Finally, very few people actually enjoy the act of writing poetry, and I am assured that those that do are kept under close supervision by the mental health authorities. If one then begins to entertain the notion that vanishingly few people enjoy reading the stuff either, one begins to wonder why we bother leaving the comfort of the fireside on a Tuesday evening, but that way apathy and lassitude leads.
Certainly tonight’s Workshop was no holiday game. Peter Francis strode out to bat with another episode in a fascinating sequence based on the life and death of his father in far off Shropshire. Olwyn Grimshaw took up the cudgels and built a fine rubber on the theme that to believe in a sane world is madness, and isn’t it? Alan Chambers cut the deck and dealt us a scene from the North of France and the last war. Owen Gallagher has also been thinking about the passing of his father and his story of a home-made coffin chipped him a fine lob down the line. Daphne Gloag dropped the last red and lined herself up nicely on the black with a rumination on the odd extra second that the powers that be occasionally drop into the calendar. John Hurley stepped up to the ockey and aimed a triple twenty at those who would fail to make peace. Martin Choules re-waxed his carvers and took off for the moguls with a tirade against the plane tree. Finally, Nick Barth hooped his red and lined his mallet up for a roquet off the opponent’s black with a dream he had about returning to the moon.
I have to apologise for the hiatus in the PP Blog for the last two weeks. The fact is I was hard at work refurbishing one of the finer scuttlebuts in my collection. The gussets needed a dose of mucilage which I derive from the purest ungulate myself, assuming I can locate a deceased unicorn, of course. If you have been, thank you for reading.