Workshop, 7th June 2016

Pity the poor person on business from Porlock, forever blamed for causing an opium-head to lose his thread.  Much muttering was levelled against the village at the workshops, with Sammy Coleridge much disparaging against Somersetshire, Exmoor and any businessman in general.  Billy Blake in turn was upset at such an attitude towards the very place where he believed Joseph of Arimathea had landed with the boy Jesus, one presumes for their summer hols.  “In Porlock Bay did Jesus Christ a vivid poppy-dream decree”, perhaps ?

The Archives reveal how Robbie Southey and Bill Wordsworth further stirred the pot by suggesting that the stranger from Porlock was Jesus himself, keen to draw Coleridge away from the celebration of the idolatrous Khan, or possibly the devil, bringing both the dream and the frustration.

This week’s workshop was neither pent up nor spaced out: John Hurley is being constantly interrupted by coverage of the upcoming referendum, but that doesn’t stop him from finishing his poem, and Daphne Gloag on honey-dew hath fed as she counts redwings bringing winter.  Ariadne Kazantzis, quite unlike Coleridge, has been reworking her superhero story, feeling no need to be permanently stuck with a first draft, while Peter Francis has been down to a sunless sea and brought back a poem from his youth about love on the surf.  Matters were concluded by Martin Choules’ meditation on place-names – had he included Xanadu, he would probably have prosaically pointed out that it simply means ‘upper capital’ in Mandarin.

Speaking of place names, nobody seems to have noticed that the word ‘Porlock’ has such a nice, poetical sound to it, and that the legend would never have caught on so keenly had he been disturbed by a woman on errands from Minehead.


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