Saturday, 5 December 2015


… I condsider’d a Monotonous Cadence like that used by Milton & Shakeseperare & all writers of English Blank Verse, derived from the modern bondage of Rhyming, to be a necessary and indispensable part of Verse. But I soon found that in the mouth of a true Orator such monotony was not only awkward, but as much a bondage as rhyme itself. I therefore have produced a variety in every line, both of cadence & number of syllables.  Every word and every letter is studied and put into its fit place; the terrific numbers are reserved for the terrific parts, the mild & gentle, for the mild & gentle parts, and the prosiac, for inferior parts; all are necessary to each other.  Poetry Fetter’d, Fetters the Human Race.  Nations are Destroy’d, or Flourish, in proportion as Their Poetry, Painting and Music, are Destroy’d, or Flourish ! The Primeval State of Man was Wisdom, Art, and Science.

From the introduction to Jerusalem, William Blake. June Singer’s Jungian study of the Marriage of Heaven and Hell gives excellent insight into the eidetic perception and spiritual recountings of William Blake – revered and feared for so long, and rightly so!

Sound is uppermost in my thoughts on writing at the moment. David Cooke kindly straightened out a poem I sent him recently, and cited: sound first. The result, below, much improved verse, so durable I cannot prise a knife back into it:

From “Wednesday’s Child”   Originally: Isolation is a bag of tricks//since Tallulah came along. Since then/ my time is hers, and we are slower/ on the uptake while in our minds/ true love unwinds in increments,/ 
Becomes: Isolation is a bag of tricks/now Tallulah’s come, since when/my time is hers, and love /unwinds in increments.

Online at SLQ

Wisdom ,Art, and Science. okay then.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Stroud Out Loud!

Friday 27 November,
Subscription Rooms,
7 to 7.30 Start,
admission free. 
Last Friday of the month: among the varied and uncouth this November Anthony Nanson and Kirsty Hartsiotis will promote their Gloucestershire Ghost Tales, just out. With luck, Fiona Eadie will bring another trick of the tale with First Man and First Woman, and we hope many more story-tellers, singers and poets within reach will turn up to stretch this always diverse and happy night into the popular regular event it nearly is.

Open Mic runs at up to 10 minute allowance for those reciting, or 3 minutes if reading from the page. Keeps it fun. Click on right image for further information of book event taking centre stage this month.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Cheltenham Literature Festival

When I walked out into the rain today with head bowed down and collar turned against the wind set lightly at my door, an Autumn wind, I saw you standing, waiting on your platform without end, waiting for a north bound train.

Nice to roll in to Cheltenham with the Gloucestershire Writers Network.  Another spur, aye.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Radio Corinium October 2015

Radio, 2pm Mon 5th, repeated Wed 7th,
Sun 11th Oct. A few poems in between
other readers, a first for me. Maybe good.
Corinium Radio, the voice of Cirencester
ooooooh.  Helen of course should be pronounced Helen, not Hellin.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

County Class Poet

Closing the show at Cheltenham Literature Festival on 11 October - perhaps that is putting too high - 18 or so Gloucester writers reciting their work at the Town Hall, 8 to 10pm.  Tickets available.  I am looking forward to seeing local poets: I have still to make an evening at The Brewery, In Cirencester, and there are many unfamiliar names.  Come to Cheltenham if you can, I'll be there with my motley crew.  Picture below from the Seed Festival. Look at him, chatting away!

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

better the poems talk

The seed festival is on Saturday 18th at Hawkwood College, Josie and I, and the harp, have a tent pitched on the same level ground where the spring rises, and it will be poetic. I want to deal with the twin components of a poem, talk of dual energies, consider the religious and creative impulses, quote from the book of changes: "For night is born of midday when Yang breaks up into Yin". Josie's volunteered to give me a few warning notes if I bang on.  Some days, I'm as likely to cite, no energies.  We'll see.  Pamphlet for sale. 

Two faces to match the boar, ruthless and red, with regards to Pierre, "each man in his time..."

We will start with the harp, then into this Pagan first, from the version by Robert Graves, as I remember it. "I am"'s inter-changeable, or to be added as they fit.  This seems a good way to begin, close as we are to the country of bards.
The Song of Amergin
I am a stag of seven tines
a flood across a plain
I am a wind on a deep lake
a tear, the sun lets fall,
I am a hawk above the cliff
a thorn beneath the nail,
a wonder among flowers
I am a wizard!  Who-but-I
sets the cool head aflame with smoke?
I am a spear that roars for blood
a salmon in a pool
a lure from Paradise,
I am a hill where poets walk,
I am a boar, ruthless and red,
a breaker threatening doom
I am a tide that drags to death,
an infant, who but I
peeps from the unhewn dolmen arch?
I am the womb of every holt
the blaze on every hill
queen of every hive
shield for every head,
I am the tomb of every hope.
Does anything stir - Ancestral voices!

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bard of Hawkwood

Counted in Bard of Hawkwood on Monday 04 May, My soap box mound. my spring: the lower lawn of Hawkwood College, in Stroud's Five Valleys, which I don't think include the Slad Valley and Laurie Lee's pub, the Woolpack. I will have to check up on it.  Quite a lot of checking up to do anyway on my Bardic status, for the next year and a day.  Tee shirts available soon, first official bardic engagement at the Seed Festival on Saturday, 18 July. Meanwhile, pictures from the day here include a cape borrowed from Kevan Manwaring.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Leda and the Swan

A sudden blow: the great wings beating still
Above the staggering girl, her thighs caressed
By the dark webs, her nape caught in his bill,
He holds her helpless breast upon his breast.

How can those terrified vague fingers push
The feathered glory from her loosening thighs?
And how can body, laid in that white rush,
But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?

A shudder in the loins engenders there
The broken wall, the burning roof and tower
And Agamemnon dead.
                            Being so caught up,
So mastered by the brute blood of the air,
Did she put on his knowledge with his power
Before the indifferent beak could let her drop?
Yeats: and how can body, laid in that white rush, But feel the strange heart beating where it lies?Does the verse match the original painting by Michelangelo?  Who knows, there are only copies left.  Before finding the picture above, I thought the picture a better record of the encounter, but that old style modelling, and then the writing, more immediate, more sudden than expected: it's a match. Enough for Leda's hatched girls to reflect on.

Sunday, 1 March 2015


The poem that was here send out for prizes, in its place, WCW:


Oh strong-ridged and deeply hollowed
nose of mine! what will you not be smelling?
What tactless asses we are, you and I, boney nose,
always indiscriminate, always unashamed,
and now it is the souring flowers of the bedraggled
poplars: a festering pulp on the wet earth
beneath them. With what deep thirst
we quicken our desires
to that rank odor of a passing springtime!
Can you not be decent? Can you not reserve your ardors
for something less unlovely? What girl will care
for us, do you think, if we continue in these ways?
Must you taste everything? Must you know everything?
Must you have a part in everything?