Don’t miss it, all welcome, admission free!
Meanwhile, here is a selection of poetry from the Stanza session on 21st May.
First up, Paul Fox with a witty ditty which contains, he tells us, his first Latin, Spoonerised pun. See if you can spot it.
HERMAPHRODITTY | Paul Fox
I’ve foraged through foliage, for fear that I’d fail,
To find the elusive, irrational snail.
The snail is a hermaphrodite pulmonate
His movements are measured; his motion sedate –
Such ponderous wanderers thus seem to know
Just what they should do and just how they should go.
Their ruminant movement – considered not lazy
Could well hide the fact that the snail had gone crazy.
And thus I fell into a slough of despond –
Till I found one dead, in my back-garden pond.
Now some little creatures go rushing around
They slip into water – and promptly – they’re drowned –
But a snail would go gently – you’d think he might note
His own lack of gills, or his lack of a boat;
And as his small head slowly went under water
He’d have time to ponder imponding self-slaughter.
Yet he failed to perceive the disaster to come –
Irrational – I think so; most certainly dumb!
He wasn’t alone; there were several others:
His auntie*, his cousin, his gran and two brothers.
No logical cause could account for this act –
A maladroit, molluscine, suicide pact.
Whatever the cause, this was not the best way
To carry out communal snailo de fe.**
The problem of course, was how to self-harm
When bereft of a hand or a leg or an arm?
Did such an existence – both ghastly and odd
Unite them in horror, aghast-ero-pod?
And did they, rejecting, their lowly-born state,
Have reason to wade to this watery fate?
* Please note that this auntie was also his uncle and so on.
** Da-da! Here is Paul’s first Latin, Spoonerised pun. Why not use the comment box and tell us what you think of it?
MASK | Karen Schofield
Before you enter I check my mask,
tie it tight so it won’t fall,
composed and cool I look the part;
but this is no Venetian ball
The audience is afraid to hear
and I don’t want to tell,
though a practiced speech is easy
and I’ve learnt my lines so well
I worry that my mask will stick
so I can’t undo the ties;
you’ll never know my wish to feel,
to comfort and to empathise
When all alone I start to weep
and rail against my calling;
but the mirror shows a rictus smile
and the tears no chance of falling
BACKSTROKE | Bo CrowderTo swim in a slate grey sea ribbed with cold undulation
Backstroke always was my choice
Better to shoulder aside the tide
With steady strokes and easy breaths
The one disadvantage, where am I going?
Though that has never been a problem
I can stop, tread water, look around.
When it comes for me, a hoary squall
Of the south-west, wind on its tail,
I shove for the shore
Barely do my feet touch bottom as the first wave
Lifts me up and lets me down, dragged
Towards bladderwracked rocks
As the second scrapes my toes through sharp razor shells
And as the third throws me at the barnacled groyne
Closer, come closer sings the swell …
I shout, arms outstretched,
I push ankles deep into the sand
And your hand grasps mine and I am safe
Pulled up onto the beach you walk me along
To where I began, best to get straight in again
And the storm passes and I wade out
And the sea calms, as seas do, wide and wonderful and blue.
PLAYGROUND VOICES | Jenny Hammond
This village school exhales history.
Florence Nightingale with flickering lamp,
Emmeline Pankhurst railing-chained.
A Homburg hat, a smoking cigar.
All this while playground voices shrilled,
girls in pinafores jumped skipping ropes,
boys in breeches measured up to box,
kicked balls, played conkers.
Then back to blackboard,
and strict Headmaster Cross
who lived his name.
Inflicted the cane
on truants who gathered acorns,
gleaned for the pennies
to pay the rent
and stave starvation.
Today the nearby churchyard
marks familiar family names
on lichen-covered stones —
coffin makers, blacksmiths,
farmers, servants to the Squire —
once the children who
sobbed, shrieked, giggled.
The ghosts of playground voices.