Arvon, Lumb Bank, Ted Hughes, Normal Stuff, Futon Shop, New Desk 2, # 200 Fish

That’s it then. The week on the Arvon course, at Lumb Bank, the one time home of Ted Hughes, is over. Not one photograph of Sylvia Plath was to be seen. I suggested, whimsically, to my new friend, and fellow writer Henry Normal, that Mr Hughes may have put that stipulation in his will. As the week wore on the whimsy turned to a downright darker mystery.

Lots of people to mention, but without the attendees lists, and by not subscribing to the group photograph, that detail will have to follow. They know who they are, or at least some of them do.

A slight detour on the way back home from Heptonstall, to pick up the second desk from the Futon Company, Sheffield. It is for the writing desks project, which is taking over our home. This all thanks to that spiritual poet David Whyte, who once was from Yorkshire, and who very much presents himself as I would care to be presented. I believe that it was he who said that he can’t really continue writing at the same desk once he has completed a collection at that desk. Thank you David.

The sun is back with us, glorious blue skies at the brand new North Sea Observatory, where we observed (and joined) the decent length queue for coffee and cake. Edwina would have liked the cake selection, and I would like to think that this place could be on her list of future poems. Poems which she writes, about places, to encourage us stay at home Brits to visit. The noblest cause of the week for poetry in my mind.

The exhibition at Chapel Point was first rate. Big thanks to all the artists who joined in. And big call out for Biff Vernon for curating the exhibition. Who Knows, maybe we can persuade him to do one for poetry. The poem was from the Friday night Reading. Page eighteen now has the original writer’s autograph.

 

Past Master

I found the book
Spine broken
Tea stained cover
Pages browned with age

Sadly it brought purpose
To an otherwise purposeless morning
In bed until eleven
Not much more to it than that

I also came across the biscuits
Chocolate digestives no less
I don’t recall that you had a favourite
You not being a sweet-tooth, unlike me

His poem, you know the teacher’s poem
There on page eighteen, his poem
Which says so much about you
Although with words which I never could have raised

 

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The Ha Ha Moment, The New Desk, The Mindfulness Of Mind In Mind, Batley Variety Club, Redbrick Mill

We took a trip to Batley, you remember, the home of the Variety Club, where once you could, and I did see Tony Bennett, the master of the crooners. However, on this occasion, we were going to the MADE store, within Redbrick Mill; which is described as the North’s Leading Destination for Interiors.

The desk arrived six-weeks later and was duly assembled on the landing, which was its thought out place to be, thought out by me myself that is. It feels right there, I feel right there, it has a welcoming aura.

Mindfulness of feeling in feeling is mindfulness of feeling directly while experiencing feeling, and certainly not contemplation of some image of feeling which one creates to give feeling some objective, separate existence of its own outside of oneself.

With the reading of these words of Thich Nhat Hanh, I saw the meditators eyes glaze over. Then I remembered the new desk. I told the story of its arrival and placement, and of how to sit there was halfway to the mindfulness of feeling in feeling, and that with a few moments more of quiet sitting one could easily reach awareness, and enjoy the mindfulness of mind in mind.

The discussion opened up, and at once the foreboding words had been opened out, teased and explored until smiles returned to the meditators faces.

 

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Revision and Prep Was Never So Much Fun Was It, Back In The Day That Is

Two days at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in this the barmiest summer I for one can ever remember. Blue skies, black skies, sun-scorched earth in abundance, and two of the best exhibitions of recent times.

All this to prepare a few poems for my Arvon course at the end of the month; of course with the diabetes blood-test due soon I was diligent, not an ice cream, nor a drop of alcohol passed my lips.

I must congratulate the Ibis Styles Hotel in Barnsley, for a good nights sleep, and for a first-rate cooked-to-order breakfast; just the job to start another hard day of poetry.

Top Of That Hill

Giuseppe Penone’s
Alberto Folgorato
(Lightning struck tree)
Could be the very metaphor

Amplified by the dark clouds of Yorkshire
Highlighted by the skies silver linings
The split trunk
Says much about divergence

The gold-leaf offshoot
Itself splits into two
Their fine points
Reaching ever upward

Yet it is the dark bark
A combination of brown and grey
With slivers of gold
Which looks strongest, which reaches highest

What we leave behind
May grow ever brighter
But in no way, no way whatsoever
Does it stunt our growth

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North Sea Observatory, Grandchildren, Meditation, Jokes, and Cleethorpes

It is new, and we all like the shock of the new do we not.

So there we were about to begin our Meditation in the Old Stables when the grandchildren appeared; they came forward to tell us the sort of jokes that 3 and 5-year-old boys will laugh at all day long, especially if they allow the older folks to be called nincompoops.

Jane said we ought to take them (the grandchildren) to the North Sea Observatory at Chapel Point.

Having spent the previous day walking out for forty-five minutes – through sandbanks, squelchy mud, and welcome pools of trapped lukewarm water, to reach the sea at Cleethorpes, anywhere with a shorter walk seemed admirable.

Repetition

Out of the blue
In the depths of meditation
No desire for clue
To love’s indebted creation

One breath in
One breath out
One verse read
Of the Night Prayer

In to the new
Sidestep the contemplation
No path or shoe
To love’s indebted creation

One bell sounds
One bell decays
One thought happens
You peaceful soothsayer

That new or blue
That breath of meditation
That surprise of truth
To love’s indebted creation

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Tudeley (Chagall), Sissinghurst (Vita SW), Dungeness Beach (Derek Jarman), Tunbridge Wells (The Ivy), Emerson College (Forest Row), And This Is The Kit (Louth British Legion)

A busy week, with more flowers, light and stained glass, than you can throw a stick at. Culminating in a cracking concert from This Is The Kit, returning to Louth after a long absence. Thanks to Mark from Off The Beaten Tracks.

But first Tudely and the Chagall Windows. I implore you to go, and to go straight after the Sunday service, sometime in summer, July even.

 

Then to Sissinghurst, once home to Vita Sackville West, now a National Trust Treasure. I beseech you to read All Passion Spent, or No Signposts in the Sea, top drawer stuff.

 

Next up was Dungeness Beach, an entirely otherworldly place where the late Derek Jarman spent the last of his years. It is a place to play.

 

There are no photographs for Tunbridge Wells but you can visit The Ivy’s website. You might also visit the restaurant for it is a fine dining experience.

Emerson College in Forest Row was the venue for the Community of Interbeing’s Loving Relationships Retreat. There is a youtube video Plain Gift with way more pictures than can go on here.

There are no photographs for This Is The Kit, are you surprised that the film ran out; if you have any pics then please send them in, meanwhile for future performances follow this link.

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The Painted Bed & Other Such Colourful Coincidences

On the very day that I learned of Donald Hall’s passing, his book, The Painted Bed, dropped through my letterbox. It too talks much of death. Yet our yellow rose is more perfect than it ever has been before.

I spoke of finding the website Along Dusty Roads, then blow me if I didn’t write the poem which had preceded this slice of luck; we will, or I will, drive or ride Scotland’s North Coast 500 in the coming days, or, as is more likely, in the fullness of time.

It is the first day of the third block of Morning Pages, and once again Julia Cameron takes me from that miserable, o how my body aches Monday morning feeling, through to the excitement and joy of lateral group thinking; we must make more use of The Old Stables, and we will, for we have written to Wolds Words.

The poem, written in my Izzi Rainey notebook is in first draft mode; who is the you I write of? We want to know more of this person, the writing group told me; and so I ask, if you know who the you is then please tell me some more about yourself.

Maps & Plans

I know you
Yet also I do not know you
Would a road trip
Around Scotland’s North Coast 500
Help me to know you better

When you stand atop a Munro
Do you whisper words of zen
Or does the man, once a boy from North Yorkshire
Simply say thanks for where he has travelled
Offer his uncomplicated words for what he has achieved

And if it is not you
Who shares this journey with me
Who then might it be; yes, who might it be
Are there others, many many others
Who I know, yet also, who I do not know

And if I have to go alone
Yet also not be alone
Would a few stopping off points
By the sands, beside the seas
Help me to know, me alone a little better

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Writing Done✔️, Recording Done✔️, Video Done✔️, Amazon & Kindle Done✔️; Marketing & Promotion – Not Done ✘

Well I did say that I was working on this, didn’t I? And did you believe me, yes I know you did, and thank you for your support. Especially to the kind person in the record shop today, who spoke kindly about the video, which prompted this blog.

Its been a fun journey, lots of new software, loads of new protocols (see how I’m picking up the jargon), and best of all an air-freshener, to overcome the scent of sheep’s wool in the soundproofing insulation.

Do you know how many photos you have taken, or have stored on your computer? No, me neither. I started making the video thinking that I would use only one or two photos from each file, and that might see me all the way through my collection.

Well, it didn’t; I’ve only gone from 2002 (when I started saving them on the computer) to 2006! Which of course means there could be more videos for Thirty-Nine Significant Songs. You have been warned.

 

Spiegel im Spiegel a poetry video by Christopher Sanderson

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