By Gill Ward
Being kind comes naturally
Well here we go – no surprises, just a catch up. I know you will all be hunkered down and doing the right things. No need to tell you to be kind because I certainly know you are. At our poetry sessions I watch you all being encouraging about the person reading their poem and empathetic if the reader is nervous. And sharing your poems in a crowd of people is just the heart of kindness and I’m sure that you all feel you have a kind audience (which you do).
It was so sad to have to contact Julie Leibrich and Gail Lewis (at the café) to say we were cancelling the March Poets to the People. Many of us had been to Julie’s exceptional book launch at the beginning of March and you would have all loved her reading, but not to be. We are privileged to have such a stellar poet, writer and friend in our cluster of villages.
Communication in the age of Covid-19
It was a bit of a stretch getting it all organised on my cell phone while I was away but just now I’m sure 21st century communication will be a big help to those isolated in a house without a housemate/family member. Even a land line helps and the postal services are still working. But we know this distancing is our way of looking after each other.
If you are missing Poets to the people you could look up our Poets to the People page on Facebook. Sonya Byford started this some years back for us and we have suggested anyone might like to put a poem up during this lock down. One is already on it and I loved it. A poem about anything and I won’t be there to be bossy at the mic. either. Go for it!
On our webpage there are offers to do shopping etc … for people who can’t get out. If anyone has something they want delivered locally, for instance, I could pick it up from your letter box and deliver it to someone else’s. No human contact involved.
On hold for now
I have contacted Marty Smith who was to be our April poet and she had already realised we would not be operating (for want of a better word) in April. So everyone and everything is on hold at the moment – our first pause in over 15 years so not to be downplayed (I was going to say sneezed at but that’s a little inappropriate!). Watch this space.
Well my favourite saying is it’s not hoarding if it’s books so I have taken this to heart for years. This means I have plenty to read right now. Am just Reading “I never metaphor I didn’t like” by Marty Grothe, fun for the brain. He quotes from Francis Bacon’s Essays (1547)
If man be gracious and courteous to strangers,
it shows he is a citizen of the world,
and that his heart is no island cut off from other islands,
but a continent that joins to them.
Grothe suggests that this may have inspired John Dones 1694 “No man is an island sentiment”.
Forgive me for indulging myself but a thought for these times.
I asked Julie (above) if I could share one of the poems from her new book. She chose:
for Alan my Manchester man
The bluebells in me
are returning to seed.
The river in me is racing
back up the mountain to its source.
The curve of my time is a spiral now
returning to its spark.
I am the very quick of life.
Welcoming death was all I had to do.
Microscope and telescope converge.
My constellations are contracting
to a single point of light.
The alchemist in me is on fire.
Julie’s book is In the lost and found department of my life from Steele Roberts (2020) and if anyone wants a copy of the book it costs $20 and they should just drop her an e-mail at Julieleibrich@outlook.com
It’s a beautifully designed book and has a painting on the cover painted by Julie herself. Kia kaha Julie.
Stay laughing, stay kind and as a last resort write something!
Best wishes from Elizabeth and me