Learning how to use WordPress, William Wordsworth and Unrest in the U.K. …

Oops!

I seem to have used two similar posts for my first entries to WordPress. Apologies. I thought I’d lost the first draft so made a second one, which was slightly shorter than the first, due to running out of patience! Hey ho.

I was going to post a poetry review today but instead, wanted to say this –

Everything Stops for Tea!

There May Be Trouble Ahead …

There’s a Great British Cliche that any difficult issue, be it M&S selling out of your favourite knickers or trying to solve the global Climate Emergency, that can’t be improved with a ‘nice’ cup of tea.

A Nice Cup of Tea

To say that things are ‘very difficult’ here in the U.K. and in England in particular is an example of the fine British art of understatement. Floods, climate emergency, political turmoil, austerity, and unrest on a global scale; we need an awful lot more tea.

We’ve had a very contentious vote on BREXIT (the decision for Britain to leave the European Union) and the whole of the U.K. is still divided along set lines of Remain or Leave.

I keep hearing William Wordsworth’s words …

London, 1802

BY WILLIAM WORDSWORTH
Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour:
England hath need of thee: she is a fen
Of stagnant waters: altar, sword, and pen,
Fireside, the heroic wealth of hall and bower,
Have forfeited their ancient English dower
Of inward happiness. We are selfish men;
Oh! raise us up, return to us again;
And give us manners, virtue, freedom, power.
Thy soul was like a Star, and dwelt apart:
Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life’s common way,
In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay.

From the Poetry Foundation https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45528/london-1802

… okay, a little on the idealistic side maybe, but a call to be better at least.

I’ll be up front and say that I was and am still, a ‘Remainer’. I believe our nations should have the right to choose to either accept the ‘deal’ made by politicians or reject it, as its consequences will echo down the generations. BUT I am not into attacking anyone who wanted to Leave the EU and a lot of people are very concerned at this toxic culture of ‘othering’ people. If we profoundly disagree and can’t resolve issues through debate then I’d argue it’s time to stop to reconsider our course of action.

Things have gone too far when our Press and Politicians, on all sides of the divide, can’t feel safe due to death threats and actual physical assault. I think now of the horrendous and vile murder of Labour Politician, Jo Cox. Someone decided to stab her when she left her constituency office, because they didn’t agree with her Pro-European stance. All her dedication and caring for the people she represented, were completely overlooked through this act of blind fury and left her young children without a mother. What are we thinking?

It’s such a wonderful testament to her memory that Jo’s family have continued her legacy with the Jo Cox Foundation

‘Our vision is for a kinder, more compassionate society where every individual has a sense of belonging and where we recognise that we have more in common than that which divides us.’

Jo Cox Foundation at https://www.jocoxfoundation.org/vision

YES!

Hostility and intolerance has become a part of our every day it seems but I’m pretty sure that whatever dark forces swirl beneath these uncertainties, they can’t win as long as we still have HOPE.

Let’s end on a lighter note! Here’s Professor Elemental with his take on Jack Buchanan 1930’s song ‘Everything Stops for Tea’ best served with a tasty portion of irony – enjoy!

‘Everything Stops for Tea’ version by Professor Elemental, award-winning hip hop artist and poet
https://www.professorelemental.com/the-videos

Writing and Me

This image from my homepage was taken in the Chained Library at Hereford Cathedral. https://www.herefordcathedral.org/chained-library

I had a magical visit there with Frank, my late Dad and remember the awe that I felt at the huge amount of knowledge surrounding us in this C17 library. I remember Dad joking that he felt like a youngster amidst the aged tomes: he was 93 yrs old!

Hereford Cathedral also houses the Mappa Mundi – https://www.herefordcathedral.org/mappa-mundi and reveals a fascinating insight into C13 scholars’ view of the world.

A detail from the Mappa Mundi
Mappa Mundi at Hereford Cathedral

A bit about me …

I’m a poet and will add some links to my published work here later on.
This blog was set up some time ago but I’ve been caring for my Dad as he descended into dementia. He would have been delighted to see this and probably be quite stunned at the mention of him! (Below, I post my poem that I read at his funeral)

I’ve recently stepped down from Chairing The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network (GWN) which is a wonderful organisation that promotes writers, poets, groups and events. GWN organises an annual prose and poetry competition where the winners receive very good cash prizes, and they and the runners-up are published and read at the prestigious Times and the Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival.

You can find out more about both organisations here
http://www.gloswriters.org.uk/
https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature

I’m looking forward to returning to my own creative writing in 2020. Next post will be my review of Helen Ivory’s The Anatomical Venus (Bloodaxe, 2019)

I’ll finish for today with a poem for my Dad and for all lovely Dads out there … it’s on the Good Dadhood website here: https://gooddadhood.com/2017/06/05/a-poem-by-kathryn-alderman/ – cheerio for now

Unconditional

Just you and me, and the tchck, tchck
of your hobnails, spading
stony grey buttercream
for the patio.

I love your talk of optimal ratios —
sand, water, cement,
but it’s hard to stay rapt
when the world’s a grassy bank
with worms to scream at,
and stepping-stone ants who promise
other means of construction.

If you’d wanted a boy
you never said.
Applauded my preference
for daisy chain decoration,
yum-yummed over mud pie teas.

Later, I learned
how you layered rare elements
to buttress my shaky mettle.

Now I spade up that same blend
of unconditional 
pass it back for you.

Kathryn and Frank at Hereford Cathedral

My First Blog Post

Writing and Me

Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.

— Oscar Wilde.

This is the first post on my new blog so please bear with whilst I get the hang of it. It was set up some time ago, at the time of writing it’s November 2019 so I’m a bit late but here we go!

The photo on my home page was taken in the beautiful ‘Chained Library’ at Hereford Cathedral U.K. https://www.herefordcathedral.org/chained-library

I had a magical visit to this C17 library, with my late Dad. It was awesome to be surrounded by literally the weight of knowledge surrounding us. I remember my then 93 yr old Dad joking that he felt like a youngster amidst such aged tomes.

Hereford Cathedral also homes a Mappa Mundi https://www.herefordcathedral.org/mappa-mundi

A detail from the Mappa Mundi

Dating from C13, it’s a fascinating insight into how the scholars viewed our planet.

As for me – I’m a poet and will post up links to some of my work soon. I recently stepped down from a three year period of chairing – The Gloucestershire Writers’ Network (GWN) from 2016-19.

It’s a wonderful network which promotes writers, events and groups. GWN organises an annual poetry and prose competition where the winners receive cash prizes and they and the runners-up are published and read their wining entries at the prestigious Time and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival https://www.cheltenhamfestivals.com/literature

See here for our prose and poetry winners 2019 and also to find our more about GWN https://gloswriters.org.uk/2019-competition-winners/

Poetry winner Sarah Hemings
Sarah Hemings – GWN Poetry Winner 2019





Prose Winner Julie Carthy
Julie Carthy – GWN Prose Winner 2019

It’s been wonderful to see so many writers and poets further their talent and become ‘names’ on the writing circuit.

I’ve taken time out from my writing to care for my Dad as he declined into dementia and this blog is really my way of moving on, as he would have wished. So here’s to him, Dad, Frank – and I share the poem I wrote for him and read at his funeral. It’s on a wonderful website called Good Dadhood in honour of all those great Dads out there
https://gooddadhood.com/2017/06/05/a-poem-by-kathryn-alderman/

See the source image

Unconditional

Just you and me, and the tchck, tchck
of your hobnails, spading
stony grey buttercream
for the patio.

I love your talk of optimal ratios —
sand, water, cement,
but it’s hard to stay rapt
when the world’s a grassy bank
with worms to scream at,
and stepping-stone ants who promise
other means of construction.

If you’d wanted a boy
you never said.
Applauded my preference
for daisy chain decoration,
yum-yummed over mud pie teas.

Later, I learned
how you layered rare elements
to buttress my shaky mettle.

Now I spade up that same blend
of unconditional 
pass it back for you.

Frank and Kathryn at Hereford Cathedral

I’m looking forward to blogging about writing events, publications and poetry in particular. Coming next, look out for my review of Helen Ivory’s The Anatomical Venus (Bloodaxe, 2019)

It’s great to be writing again and I will be returning to my own creative writing in 2020 – no doubt, detailing the highs and lows of submitting. See you soon 🙂