Workshop, 8th January 2019

As my loyal readership know, I am a true Renaissance man, a polymath (-glot?, -gon? I can never be sure).  I am as likely to turn my attention to the latest news from a probe investigating a vast rock model of a peanut on the edge of the solar system as a social novel on the struggle to be an open-minded, educated window cleaner in Barnsley during the Chinese Cultural Revolution, or for that matter the latest attempt by the kazoo orchestra of South Brisbane to set the poetry of Elizabeth of Aquitaine to music.  In Medieval French.

As a result, I am an enormous fan of the Enlightenment, and never let a day go by without being even a little bit enlightened.  I like to think that if I was around in those enlightened times I would have made sure I was on visiting terms with the Herschels, perhaps to chat to William about the music of the spheres or to shin up a ladder after Caroline into her viewing loft to get an eyeful of her refined optics at first hand.

Of course, that also makes me an enormous fan of the equinox we have just passed and the beginning of the long climb out of the darkness of winter that we experience at this time of year, as far as I know a thing that happens almost every year without fail.  Even now I am looking forward to the end of March when we move the clocks forward in order to give our gardens and crops an extra hour of sunlight, a prospect made all the more vital by the prospect of entirely cutting ourselves off from any European imports, a subject I will not dwell on here.  Suffice it to say I have been purchasing refrigerators and stocking up on the essentials; to whit, Orangina and Haagen Dasz.

This Tuesday saw the return of the Pitshanger Poets Workshop after a two-week hiatus over the Christmas and New Year period.  I suspect that some of our number did not respect the express instructions to desist from all poetry-related activities in order to maximise the opportunity for excessive consumption.  We have to regard this as cheating as it can be seen as gaining an unfair early start to the year.  I have to admit to taking a little time out to sketch out a Spring Sequence on Boxing Day but it is now almost illegible due to an accident with the brandy butter.

Christine Shirley got proceedings started with an enigmatic winter poem recalling a lost friend.  Michael Harris followed with a pair of typically short poems on the theme of cutting cords.  We cannot help feeling Michael is moving on in 2019.  Martin Choules has been thinking about jellyfish, more precisely the word itself.  Caroline Am Bergris wants to learn to fly for Christmas, simply in order to do less walking.  Natasha Morgan brought a reminiscence of a cathartic New Years’ Day to her first visit to Pitshanger Poets.  Nick Barth imagined a moment of parting caught on a wave of time for his first poem of 2019.  Pat Francis also alluded to a wave and a moment in time, in this case based on the sea.  New poet Steve (my apologies for neglecting to note Steve’s surname this week) found the perfect time to wear his father’s old jacket in his piece.   Peter Francis brought an iPhone into his post-modern poem, though he claims not to know what an iPhone is.  How post-modern is that?  Finally Daphne Gloag advocates taking a sail around the Universe the next time you take a bath, which brought us back to astronomers and the enlightenment.

If you have been, thank you for reading.

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