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.

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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.”

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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.

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Remote Space

Napowrimo Challenge: Day 25

The Prompt:

Write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.

My Response:

 

Remote Space

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Warm sunbeams stream through the windows

bathing my room in golden light.                                             

Propped by plumped, puffy pillows.

Nested, I settle down to write.

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A peaceful retreat tucked away,

so sacred, secure and serene.

Escape from everyday melee,

to conjure, create and dream.

Georgic

Day 22 Napowrimo Challenge

The Prompt:

In honor of Earth Day, I’d like to challenge you to write a georgic. The original georgic poem was written by Virgil, and while it was ostensibly a practical and instructional guide regarding agricultural concerns, it also offers political commentary on the use of land in the wake of war. The georgic was revived by British poets in the eighteenth century, when the use of land was changing both due to the increased use of enlightenment farming techniques and due to political realignments such as the union of England, Scotland, and Wales.

Your Georgic could be a simple set of instructions on how to grow or care for something, but it could also incorporate larger themes as to how land should be used (or not used), or for what purposes.

My Response:

Nature

Each blade of grass cools and cushions naked summer feet.

Pure daisy petals inspire children to form chains for halos and crowns.

Scented blousy roses tempt lovers to give away unguarded hearts.

Sage and stately trees steadfastly raise their arms in worship,

whilst housing birds, squirrels and bugs.

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Their roots protecting foxes, badgers and rabbits

in bracken covered burrows and mossy dens.

The bluebells delicate and snowdrops hardy,

the clinging ivy, sheltering scurrying insects,

all withstand the extremes of each season, weathered yet thriving.

Opening and closing in response to the sun,

reaching skyward in praise.

None needs man’s intervention.

Man takes the fruits of their labour to feed his own.

Frustrated that nature is not abundant enough,

not convenient enough, not quick enough

to satisfy man’s demands, he violates the earth.

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Tearing up nature, he manipulates and reforms the land

into ordered geometrical design;

to contain more production in a single acre,

to harness and harvest every last ounce nature can provide.

Like a caged tiger pacing, sleeping, repeating,

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she churns out crops, silently awaiting freedom.

She survives captivity and molestation.

When man has gone, she will flourish once more,

using his decomposed body as nutrients to feed the soil.

The largest, most dominant predators fall,

swallowed up and fossilised by the ground they once trampled.

 

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The roses arise more fragrant.

The bees produce a sweeter honey.

 

 

Rainbow Child

Napowrimo Day 19

The Prompt:

Write a poem that recounts a creation myth. It doesn’t have to be an existing creation myth, or even recount how all of creation came to be. It could be, for example, your own take on the creation of ball-point pens, or the discovery of knitting. Your myth can be as big or small as you would like, as serious or silly as you make it.

My Response:

Rainbow Child

 

sunbeams in misty forest

In leafy forest glade,

amongst meadow flowers fair,

heady floral fragrance

hung heavily in the air.

Still, she sat in zenful peace,

as daydreams drifted by.

A breeze blew the tallest leaves

and whispered softest sighs.

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With eyes closed, she observed

a world of scents and sounds.

Then she pushed each thought out

until silent mind was found.

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Maiden so serene and soft,

in state of inner calm,

exhaled long, stretched aloft

her slender ivory arms.

With slight move, turned her face

to the golden orb on high.

Reaching with delicate grace

plucked insight from the sky.

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Again she reached, caught more;

glints of wisdom and of truth.

Pulled each near her fairy form,

where they glowed, brightest hues.

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Nimble fingers worked thereon,

wove gems into ribbon tails.

Multitudes of colours shone

as fluttering bright yacht sails.

Her fingers worked into night.

Ribbons stretched to the stars.

Weaving kindness, peace and grace

into finest work of art.

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The Gods saw the modesty

of this gifted fairy child,

whose work simple honesty,

from a soul so meek and mild.

They raised her up to heaven.

Forever she will remain.

Her ribbons stretch across the sky

when sunlight meets the rain.

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