Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sheffield Stanza Poetry Reading in Sheffield

 The Poetry Society

Sheffield STANZA presents an evening of poetry.
7.15pm, The Rutland Arms
Monday 23rd October, free event
Readings by:
Debjani Chatterjee
Britain’s best-known Asian poet.
Cora Greenhill
 Recent collections “The Point of Waking,” “Far from Kind,” and “Artemis, The People’s Priestess.”
Julie Lumsden
who recently appeared in a Shoestring anthology called “Strike up the Band.”
Kate Rutter
Published in Magma, The Rialto and The North. Bridport Prize shortlisted.
Jane Sharp

as featured in The Yorkshire Anthology. and on BBC radio.

I'm looking forward to Monday evening. It's the first time I've read in Sheffield. Hope you can come along to our free event.

For those of you who can't be there, I will blog about it next week.

Have a good weekend lovely people.
Love and hugs,
Jane x

Sunday, October 1, 2017

National Poetry Day

To celebrate National Poetry Day we decided to take a day trip to Marsden. Why Marsden? Well it is the village where Simon Armitage was born and brought up, they do seem to be promoting poetry in the pubs and shops, and it's a little place in Yorkshire that we had never been.

So, without further ado, we hopped on a train to Huddersfield and changed there for Marsden, arriving about mid-day. We were pleasantly surprised by the location, a village cum small town in a basin of green hills. Just below the railway station the Huddersfield Narrow Canal wends its way between Huddersfield and Ashton-Under-Lyne, crossing the Pennines by means of 74 locks and the Standedge Tunnel.

We found Marsden, on a beautiful autumn Thursday, to be a sleep hollow. There were a few hill walkers passing through, locals walking dogs, the occasional cyclist, but the best buzz by far was in the Riverhead Tap where we settled for lunch and a pint.

 After lunch we took to the streets to search for poems which had been displayed in the shop windows.

 This is just one of the many poems we found
 Railway and canal run side by side at this point.
We took the tow path walk (15min each way) to the entrance to the Standedge Tunnel.

 Goodby, Marsden after a great little visit.

Later the muse did descend. Here is my poem set out a la Marsden shop window poetry.


In year dot, well before dinosaurs
When the earth was not much more than a fluid snowflake
And protozoa had to cling to pondweed
And baffled molluscs lived and died without knowing why,
An orbiting satellite, an un-mined asteroid
solid as a diamond brick, black as anthracite,
The size of the Great Pyramid of Giza,
Mystifyingly shucked off its course
And began to hurtle through the firmament
In the general direction of down.
Down, down, down it fell
Blazing through the heavens
Down down down, casting a momentary shadow,
before blinding the icy soup,
Down down down, with a blasting punch
That ripped into unseen sphagnum,
Blitzed spirogyra, and annihilated all the, who knows what,
sensory inhabitants of moss, that might have clocked its brilliance.
It fell like God-plop onto a slop of earth,
In a rise of steam, in a hiss of vapor, in a press
Of unheard sound, that wouldn't have been out of place
in Bank Bottom Mill. Death interrupted life.
And a great hole smashed through the liquid slush,
and blasted into smithereens smaller than protons.
And it was gone, a flash, a explosion, then nothing.
A chip off a planet’s block,
Or so the legend goes, that made a dint where otherwise
There might have been a mountain.
Eons later, eons and eons later, the locals called that place
Den o’ t’ Mars, knowing that the lay of their land had been
Moulded by some extraterrestrial collision.
Marsden to you and me.
They passed on the secret down the generations,
Druids whispered it to trees,
Poets came.

There you have it. Where shall we go to next? I have a hankering to go to Holmfirth, I did spend the morning with poet friends at Sheffield Library on Saturday. It is so good to mingle now and then. David and I went to the Civic Theatre in Barnsley last night. It was what they call a Scratch night. Basically would be drama buffs trying out their abstract work on a freebie audience. We did have a laugh, pity the chip shop was closed when we came out, a bag of chips would have been the highlight of the evening. We ended up getting one packet of crisps out of the vending machine at the bus station, and sharing that, it didn't quite top the bill.

So, till next time dear reader, I hope you are well and have more exciting things to do than eat a packet of crisps. Happy days!
Love and hugs,
Jane x

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Light Verse - Never Stick Anything Smaller Than Your Elbow in Your Ear

And after yesterday's angry poem, here is a bit of light entertainment.

It has been a quiet Sunday, but I have managed to do some piano practice (always good for the soul) and read a little of Jane Austen's Emma (just a tad boring) and make a few notes for a new poem (always satisfying as I never know where the next one is coming from).

Now to send a few e-mails, and then it's feet up and watch Fake or Fortune followed by Far From the Madding Crowd, a book I read fifty odd years ago when I was at school. 

I hope you have had a pleasant day, and wish you a lovely evening. Talk again soon.

Love and hugs,

Jane x

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Angry Poet

Sometimes the words just overflow and have to be spoken out loud.

There’s good - And there’s bad

And there’s angry
I’m angry
I’m angry inside
Deep inside
Where hurts I never imagined could happen
Are happening 
Even the infinitesimal spaces
The cavernous hollows
Of what makes up me
Are hurting
I’m hurting Heather Hyer
I’m hurting for you
I’m hurting with anger,

I’m livid, incensed,
Fist clenched,
Heart racing,
Teeth grinding
Fuming to boiling over,
Furious from the inside-out
So heated I’m in meltdown,

And I know shouting won’t help,
Screaming won’t help
Throwing objects across the room
Smashing devices
Ripping up newspapers,
Burning books,
Getting hold of a picture
Of Donald Trump
Screwing it up into a ball
And setting fire to it
Won’t help

You haters of this world
You nasty people
You who like to bully
You racist thugs
You destroyers of lives
You vile, offensive,
Nauseating bigots
You foul mouthed xenophobic
Extremist right
You Nazi flag flying
Demolishers of society
You have made me

And now this
Innocent people killed in Barcelona
Terrorists shot dead in the street
Echos of Westminster Bridge
Manchester kids blown to pieces
Sunbathers machine-gunned down
German Shoppers annihilated 
Je suis Charlie!

And this is only a fraction of it
This is only recent memory
This isn’t going back to bandstands
In Hyde Park
To double decker buses
To underground trains
This isn’t going to Syria
Afghanistan, Turkey, Israel
Ghaza, The West Bank,
Chechnia, Ukrain, Pakistan
Yugoslavia, Croatia,
And when it seemed like the whole world
Was against Blair going to war in Iraq
Nothing could stop him
No amount of ‘plaques for peace’
No amount of anger 
No amount of love
Well that’s what it feels like now
Like the love in my body
Is under attack

So get this, body
Get this world
I’m telling you to get a hold
I’m telling you to stop hurting
And to replace that rage 
With something constructive

Replace the anger
Replace the clenched fist
Replace any trace of venom

And You
What happened to human kindness?
What happened to a sense of decency?
What happened to conscience?

Don’t tell me God wants
you to be the way you are
Don’t tell me that

Figure it out

There’s good
And there’s bad
I know where I stand

And now I'm going to bake a cake with lots of love in it. 
I'll be right back when I've calmed down a bit.

Love and hugs,
Jane x

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rain in Great Ayton

I love July! Especially the 10th of July. You see it's my Birthday. Over the years I have seen some wickedly alcofrolic birthdays, in fact it's a wonder I can remember them. But the sensibility of experience, not to mention a definite allergy to most alcoholic drinks (except a pint or so of cider) means birthdays are now much more sober affairs. That doesn't mean I enjoy them any less. This year's birthday was a really lovely one. Here it is in pictures. Yes, the Rainwoman strikes again!

 And where are we? Saltburn on Sea. We did a 2 hour walk to build up our appetite for fish n chips, did a quick up and down of the pier, and had a look round the shops. Saltburn is a lovely seaside town, but I have to say it was very quiet, probably due to the bad weather. But it wasn't cold, and our hostess with the most-ess  Pauline, looked after us so well. 
 We walked right to the end of the cliff, known as  Hunt Cliff, before descending to the beach for a bit of beach combing (fossil hunting). 
We walked back up to the town, but the Funicular was working, at £1 per person.
 A plethora of knitted sea creatures etc decorate the railings of the pier.

 Here she is, friend, Pauline. She made my birthday really special, and kept me out of the pub, the smugglers cottage you can see at the bottom of the cliffs.
Once a tour guide, always a tour guide! 

I wonder if this was my Face Book friend, Jay Tee? 
 So close, yet we did resist the temptation.

The rain was passing over here. But the day before it was torrential in Great Ayton. No chance of a photo of our trip there. However we enjoyed every minute, and got to see the Schoolroom Museum where Captain Cook learned to read, and I discovered The Cleveland Bard, John Wright, who in 1862 built a house in Great Ayton called The Recess. 

 Where did you get that Hat, where did you get that smile?

 Yes! I did get my cider fix. And we went to the wonderful Chocolini's chocolate shop in Saltburn, where I bought scrumptious gluten free dark chocolates. Check out their Face Book page by clicking on the link above.
And Pauline cooked the most wonderful meal for us, with a surprise birthday cake.
So, another year has passed, full of fun, thanks to friends and family.

Here's the 'rainy day' poem that came from our trip to Great Ayton:

Rain in Great Ayton

It started as summer drizzle, hardly
enough to make our hair frizz, a subtle,
soft, refreshing mist that could have been bought
at the supermarket, or the more expensive
sort, aqua-vitalis, from Debenhams.
Spray direct to face, avoiding eyes.

Then the crows disappeared, and the sky turned
grey: north-sea-grey, harbinger-of-doom-grey,
a dark, mercury-grey, a grey that gained
momentum, a mineral-laden grey,
a Chernobyl-grey, an isotopic,
acid, car corroding, window-wiping grey,
a shwishy, puddles-on-the-pavement grey,
a virtual Turner, Fishermen at Sea grey.

And by the time my friend had ripped open
the Velcro fastener, and wrestled with
the mechanics of her old umbrella
there was a deluge, substantial enough
to fill the beck with rafts, enough to drive
rats into holes, enough to raise man-hole
covers. We ran, scurried in fact, to the
nearest shop. That’s when my umbrella
(probably older than hers) refused to open.
I fought back to the point I thought it would break,
but it remained stubborn, it flapped half-mast,
my hand inside it over my head.

When I reached the door, the spokes were stuck in
an angry-duck-refusing-to-fold-its-wings,
pose. I shook it, held it out full stretch,
and prodded the rain, like some deranged fencer,
with my makeshift rapier, en guard. That’s when
a gust of wind ripped it inside out and left
me holding a giant squid on the end of a stick.

My hair frizzed beyond curls.

So, onwards and upwards in my clickety-click year. Actually the umbrella survived, you have to allow me a bit of poetic license.

July is not over yet, and I have more adventures planned, so I hope you will return to my blog to find out what happens next in this poet's life.

Talk soon,
Love and hugs,
Jane x

Tears From The Sun - The Story