All welcome, admission free.
For details of other poetry events in our area click here.
Meanwhile, here are some poems from the session on the 21st.
First up, Andrew Phillips with some memories from The Canary Islands.
The Atlantic at Tazacorte, La Palma
I never got to walk on the beach,
Never got to shake black sand
From my shoes for weeks after:
It was closed, red flags hoisted,
You had only to lean towards the fence
For the policia local to shout you back.
Windless, yet the waves crashed sand
All over the road, rolled the sea wall
As if it wasn’t there, Hawaiian tubes
Lonely for surfers, Old Spice
And a blast of O Fortuna.
Waves that back home
Would generate severe weather warnings
Through the calm voice
Of the Shipping Forecast.
I couldn’t touch, but looked more
Than my fill until I was high
On salt and ozone, stoned
On spray and volcanic sand, drunk
On the sun diamonds
Scattered by each breaker.
I couldn’t pocket them, but
Was still rich in that air,
That spray, that sand, that sea, that sun.
Oh I was rich alright,
And I still am.
It’s off to chillier climes with Phil Williams –
I’d imagined them clean. Sharp cut edges,
fissures, depths of sunken blue.
Up close they are all sludge, furrows,
nudged stones, rock ground to grit.
Pan out and they fill time-lapse lifetimes
with their slow creep and grip.
Their aching thaw shoulders boulders
southwards as they scoop and scour.
All air and swollen water, they leave
nothing of themselves when they recede,
but all heals to lushness, softness,
their meltwater pools to upland tarns.
Seen from above they seep from cloud,
bend as many-laned as motorways,
dissolve downwards to pasture,
fade upwards into sky.
Jenny Hammond takes us way back into a Wiltshire past.
Five thousand years ago when men
with rough stone tools eked out their existence,
meeting in groups to wonder
at the beauty of the moon, stars at night,
the warmth of sun, its rise, its rays, its setting;
and when the rhythm of the seasons
sowed seeds of pagan worship, my history began.
Bronze Age burial mounds
wove reverence round my slopes —
until Iron Age conflict simmered to boiling;
the trigger for my first stronghold —
its white chalk ramparts, a crown upon my head,
like those of future kings who shaped my metamorphosis.
Sorviodunum, my Roman name,
“the fortress by the gentle river”,
was marked upon their maps.
With roads built straight across the ups and downs,
mosaic floors, statues of their heroes,
Hadrian and his wall,
they left a lasting legacy.
As Searobyrig I witnessed Anglo-Saxons’ battles,
with attack, sword and shield defence;
heard cries, from shout to scream,
as horn-helmeted Norsemen who’d
spilled from boats and marched to seek their enemies,
joined battle to the death.
But when William The Conqueror
encircled me with new stone walls,
flint-built a castle, motte and
deep, dry moat, I felt past clouds might
drift towards a brighter future.
Listed in Domesday as Sarisburia,
a grand cathedral and two fine palaces were built
with dwellings for artisans and servants.
I had transformed from fortress to a bustling city
ruled by the Plantagenets, their wiles, their plots,
their ruthlessness. Watched time unfold
until my rise was over and my fall began.
A new cathedral, built on Avon’s bank
beckoned and my people moved away.
Old Sarum left to history and to slow and sure decay.