I know how JK Rowling must have felt…

I know how JK Rowling must have felt…

 

when she first heard the musical score to her Harry Potter film.

I’ve always wondered how it must feel to not only have your novel published, or to have global success, but to hear an orchestra play the theme tune encompassing the landscape and emotions of your story.

As a fan of the Halle Orchestra, I’m always moved when I hear John Williams’ “Hedwig’s Theme” and its magical melody cut through the reverent silence of The Bridgewater Hall. To be the author of the story and hear the music must be of another dimension entirely.

But now I have had a brief glimpse into this emotional experience.

This morning, as I drove into work, I turned on the CD player and listened to a track composed in response to a poem I wrote entitled “Wild Horses”. The ludicrously talented surrealist painter, composer and polymath Mark Sheeky has composed, performed, illustrated and created the CD “Music Of Poetic Objects” and there on track 6 is my lowly poem transformed into captivating music.

Earlier this year, my poetry group Write Out Loud based at Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery, collaborated with the resident Art’s Guild and with Mark, to create an exhibition of Ekphrasis Towers. Put very simply, the poets wrote poems based on objects they had a special attachment to, the sculptors and painters of the Guild then created works of art based upon the poems. The poets then wrote more poems in response to the sculptures and paintings thereby building a “tower”. Finally, Mark selected objects and poems to compose music to.

I was honoured when one of my poems was selected and also intrigued to hear what Mark would produce based on feelings evoked by the poems “condensed and re-expressed” When I was handed the CD with its beautiful cover artwork and booklet pages, I was amazed at its elegance, although this shouldn’t have been a surprise.

Write Out Loud had previously been asked by Mark to take part in his 21st Century Surrealism Exhibition. We wrote poems based on Mark’s paintings without knowing the title or inspiration for each piece. We wrote “blind,” if you like. This was our first venture into Ekphrastic poetry as a group and an experience that generated such excitement and enthusiasm we knew we would have to explore the activity more. Mark’s artwork is so dramatic yet sensitive, so bold yet with woven with intricate subtleties, it was a pleasure to study his work in such detail. Having the freedom to express emotions generated and imagined backstories to the origins was incredibly liberating and inspiring.

So although heard through my modest car speakers, whilst embroiled in a hellish commute, rather than sitting in a luxurious orchestral hall, time stood still and I was held captivated. The traffic melted away, the grey tarmac disappeared and for that brief 5 minutes a Savannah sunset appeared with hooves thundering across a desert plain, dust flying and hearts beating. It was a dream come true, an ambition realised as my thoughts transferred to another and were expressed anew. Definitely an “other-world” experience. Mark I cannot thank you enough for the pleasure you have brought.

I look forward to future collaborations which I do hear whispered within the Art Gallery halls…

zebra stampede

Wild Horses

A wind borne scent triggers primal instincts.

Survival screams through constricted veins

hooves thunder, pulses race

legs tangle in the stampede.

Disembodied by adrenaline they run

across the Savannah Plain

aware if caught, they may ascend to the next.

A black and white dust cloud rises

against a burning umber backdrop.

Wild horses pray

this sunset wont be their last

 

Music Of Poetic Objects by Mark Sheeky is available from his website via this link: Music Of Poetic Objects

For more information about Write Out Loud please visit their website @ write out loud

Special thanks also to John Keane Ekphrastic Towers Exhibition Curator for “herding cats” whilst gathering poems from the poets and to Katherine Rosati of Stockport War Memorial Art Gallery for her endless energy in coordinating events.

 

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The Fickle Hypocrite

It’s Day 30, the final day of Napowrimo, 30 poems in 30 days. I may have let a few slip, I was busy living so I have experiences to write about. I’ve enjoyed the challenge and I’ve hated the challenge, I’ve found it easy, I’ve found it difficult. The objective of writing every day has been achieved and I feel better for it. My grey matter has been exercised and stretched.

In true hypocritical and fickle style, after two days of ranting and protesting about form, I’ve attempted a Haiku. No doubt the purist academics will point out where I tried and missed, (the last line may be a scandalous 6 syllables?) but that’s never stopped me doing what I want. I’ve also written the same poem in my “unclassical” way. The prompt; “a poem that is quite short, and that doesn’t really try to tell a story, but to quickly and simply capture an image or emotion.”  (and yes I told a story because I am a storyteller)

I Dream of Devon (Rickety Haiku)

 

Steam train whistle blows

Sea breeze, tugging kite, baked sand

Rockpool discovery.

 

I Dream of Devon (My Way)

 

Steam train whistle

Sea breeze

Tugging kite

Baked sand

Cool drink

Rockpool discovery

Melting Ice cream

Carefree laughter

Salty kisses

Devon

 

Songbird

My heart swells, with the Spring song sang

by the soloist in sycamore tree

My spirit rises, as his tune stirs

hazy sun-warmed memories.

I drink in, the surroundings

with eyes unveiled and see

diamond dew drops dripping

from budding apple tree.

Where did you go little songbird?

When snows filled winter glen

To whom did you sing whilst away?

Do they miss you now as I did then?

 

Day 25 of Napowrimo and the prompt is as follows: write a poem that

  • Is specific to a season
  • Uses imagery that relates to all five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell)
  • Includes a rhetorical question

spring

Dust

A shirt is shaken, sprawled over a board.

Her smile is fixed, eyes glazed

hours pass by as the iron runs.

Life evaporates with the steam.

The corpse is well turned out,

the headstone reads “she kept a tidy house”.

 

Dust piles upon dust

falling layer upon layer

dancing on sunbeams in shafts of light

piercing silent rooms.

Bed clothes lie ruffled.

breakfast pots sit in the sink.

 

No-one cares they run through fields

climb over styles

gather mud on their boots

eat picnics on blankets

whilst the tap drips into a bowl

waiting, waiting, waiting.

 

Wind-blown hair, sun burnt skin,

smiles light up the meadow,

birds chatter along with laughter

on the breeze, the dandelion clock

sends parachutes to mark the hours

of this endless day.

fun in fields

46

I’m 46 for goodness sake!

Where did those years go?

I was 20 only yesterday

full of vigour and gusto.

I’m closer to the grave

than the cradle which is mad

I haven’t even started yet

wasted youth is pitifully sad.

I should have sailed around the world

raising Hell everyday

been a rock star filling stadiums

instead of shuffling life away.

But had I been that rock chic

I’d never have met my man

or held my babies in my arms

and heard them call me Mam.

But Bloody Hell, I’m not ready!

for wrinkles and support tights

I’ll not go gently into bingo halls

and fade into goodnight.

So crack open the Southern Comfort

add a splash of coke

there’s still life left in this old girl

before I finally croak.

Drink up and let’s be merry

raise a glass or two

to living our lives fully

before we bid adieu.

The Tale

The Tale

 

Trust was betrayed by my

curious fumbling fingers

Disappointment flashed across

Grandma’s eyes

I felt the pain like a physical blow.

 

Side by side the old couple

had sat on the mantelpiece.

Been proudly displayed

to her red lipstick friends

who peered through a fog

of chemist shop perfume

and hairspray, nodding their approval.

 

I emptied my piggy bank

on market day

bought a new little lady.

I presented my gift

wrapped in a blue striped paper bag.

 

Her eyes lit up and as she set

the old girl down next to her mate.

My heart sank;

She was half the size

of the old man.

 

old man and lady

I’d failed yet Grandma beamed.

More precious than a trinket,

she now had a tale to tell;

the tale of a granddaughter

who tried to make amends.

 

Today is Day 12 of Napowrimo and the above is my response to the challenge: write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it.  I still own the ornaments shown above, which have no aesthetic beauty but are extremely dear to me as I hope my poem explains.

 

Simple Pleasure

Simple Pleasure

 

A rose garden alive with soothing humming bees

fragrance so intoxicating it brings me to my knees

a parasol to cool my brow whilst playful toes peep

at blazing golden rays from above, whilst I submit to sleep.

rose garden

 

I dropped the ball for Napowrimo on Day 7, writing a poem about what you would wish for…. so here it is, better late than never. Hopefully….

Goodnight

If the music never ends

If no-one call time 

If the sun never sets

If the clocks don’t chime

If the tides don’t ebb

If the moon doesn’t beckon

If we never say goodnight 

I will believe in heaven 

 

Day 6 of the Napowrimo challenge is to write a poem of possibilities.

Modesty and Joy

Simple Joy

 

It was the practical low heeled brown boots

that first caught my eye

my glance cast sideways so not to embarrass

the subject of my attention.

Secretly I studied her slender legs

leading up to the hem of a brown floral dress

and the crocheted cuffs of a sensible beige cardigan.

The modesty of attire surprised me.

Authors on their book launch night

are lavish and elegant

coiffured, polished and primed

but not so this lady.

I liked the understated look,

the quiet confidence of a writer

who had no need of a façade.

Her body of writing shining on its own merit

with no false vanity.

I adored this lady before she spoke a word

Davidson, Rowland, b.1942; Lady Reading a Book by Lamplight

Lyrical beauty, decomposing poets and butterflies

The New Mills Poetry Trail Open Mic Event – The Butterfly House at The Torrs, New Mills, by Nicola Hulme

As the setting sun filled the evening sky with a spectacular orange glow, I drove through the Derbyshire lanes to a small town nestled against the dramatic backdrop of the Peak District. I was on my way to celebrate the New Mills Poetry Trail with an evening of open mic poetry.

The residents of New Mills extended a warm welcome to the “outsiders” from Stockport’s Write Out Loud group; they even extended their arms to a poet from who hailed from the far reaches of Glossop, such a friendly bunch.

book butterfly

Held in the beautifully ornate Butterfly House at the Torrs Hotel, poets spilled out into neighbouring rooms such was the amazing turn out. It was heart-warming to see so many people of varying ages and backgrounds coming together to share in their passion, to hear and be heard. Remarkably, for such a large gathering, the atmosphere still remained intimate, reminiscent of stories told around the fireplace.
Published poets, new poets, experienced performers and those, like I, who still shake inwardly when approaching the mic, came together in a shared appreciation of the spoken word. Topics conveyed ranged from the pastoral pleasures of a slow canal walk, the heartaches of unrequited love, through to the surprise of eight family members surviving their first holiday together without anyone’s demise! For our delight we were told how Wordsworth’s decomposing body made fine fertiliser for the daffodils and allotment gardeners cried out for insect genocide, namely the extinction of the Cabbage White. The strength of Manchester was praised in a salute to the bees and conversations overheard at Costa were mulled over between drinks.

It was interesting to observe how we write as introverts, cocooned individually honing our craft, yet, on nights such as these, when we share our lines a new beauty emerges. Like a butterfly spreading its wings for the first time verbalising our humanity, vulnerabilities, passions and fears we create something new and more captivating together. We create a place of trust, empathy and support where smiles, nods and applause say “Yes, we understand, we have experienced the same and can relate to you.”

Quill-pen-parchment-and-ink-bottle1

IPhones, technology and social media may play a huge part in our daily life but it’s reassuring to know the poetry scene is very much alive and well, uniting communities. On this night the people of New Mills and the surrounding areas turned their backs on box set binging and X-Factor warbling, preferring to spend time with friends in a lyrical wonderland.

I’d like to say thank you to Randy Horton and his team of volunteers for organising the Poetry Trail and the open mic evening. Thanks also to the shopkeepers who supported the event by allowing poems to be displayed in their windows and of course to the people of New Mills for coming together and making it a night to remember. I hope we can do it all again next year.

Review is about New Mills Festival Poetry Trail Round Robin on 26 Sep 2018 (event)

Visit @writeoutloud for details of your local poetry groups.