Workshop, 5th June 2018

It has been suggested that poetry is the reserve of the tuneless and lazy, those teenage sensitive types who long to be an artist but can’t hack the art.  Want to be a songwriter but never stuck with your piano lessons ?  Fancy being a novelist, but can’t be doing with all those chapters ?  Then poetry is for you !

Of course, as anyone who has ever attempted to find a rhyme for purple will attest, it’s harder than it looks.  And looking through the Archives at our Tuesday night attendees over the centuries, it is clear that most of them never came to much, couplet-wise.  But then, perhaps the life of freezing garrets and editor disinterest hold less of an allure to some would-be wordsmiths, who quietly get on with their bookkeeping or plumbing or ministerial brief and keep the poesy on the QT.  After all, who needs the constant chorus of pedants thinking that anyone who puts a piece of their souls out there is fair game for a sniding (yes, I’m well aware of the argument that disinterest is not a synonym for uninterest, and I reject it).  Far better to wax lyrical at the weekend after a hard week of Mammon.

This week’s hobbyists were led out by Pat Francis celebrating the humble vole with its frustrating lack of a moral, followed by Fred Burt allowing the dreams to answer back in his response to a previous dozy rhyme.  John Hurley has been caught in the rain on market day and huddled with some happy farmers, then Daphne Gloag has been finding a place in the woods with trees made for climbing.  For Peter Francis, stray cats going about their business can only lead to unwanted kittens, while Martin Choules’ childhood business was dreaming of escape from the suffocating countryside, and Alan Chambers has revisited a memorial but found it different from his memory.

Some of the day-jobs of actually-did-make-it poets are well known – Robbie Frost’s farming, Gerry Hopkins’ monking and Georgie Byron’s boozing.  But what of the careers that never were ?  Eggie Poe for instance tried his hand at fortune telling, but his doomy prognostications were not a hit.  Teddy Hughes, meanwhile, almost became a zoo keeper until it became apparent that his only interest in animals was as metaphor.  And the less said about Alfie ‘Highwayman’ Noyes’ moonlighting, the better !

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