I spent yesterday evening in this wonderful art deco library, which used to be a department store, presenting my performance of travel writing. It’s always great to be in Lancashire, my home county (I didn’t move but my town of origin did). I was made to feel most welcome with a grand cuppa made by the librarian, Geraldine Wilson.
This is the group poem the audience wrote at the end of the reading:
Travel is the excitement of new sounds and smells,
colours and tastes, bewildering yet inspiring.
Tides of Blackpool, rough seas, this morning
moving fast, darting over and under, views
over the pier getting higher and higher each minute.
To Belgium: Tin Tin Point and Cesar Franke,
Panis Angelicus rings true.
Black, Black, Blakey Burn: water, moor,
the town of my dreams.
Simmering sunlight in Carrera, Spanish hum
teaching the young culture, language, art and food,
Spain, revolving around the inquisitive ones.
A walk through the woods on an autumn day
in all the leaves on the ground,
the order and scatter of leaves and mud,
the wet ground slipping underfoot.
The past is a foreign country except
when it is your own backyard.
Shades of green, stark hills, water’s edge,
setting sun, prints in mud. I’m home.
Sky full of stars but dark spreads around
and only the moon which we can see
from Earth is bright and shiny.
Paradise can be a city slum and hell
can be the traveller’s heaven.
Our state of mind is the decider.
I was astonished by the quality of writing from this varied and attentive audience, which included a former English teacher (like me), two schoolgirls (one of whom was amazed to find that I was the author of text 1 in her A level anthology -and I gave her an impromptu 5 minute tutorial on it), a wonderful Asian man who taught me a lot about Indian subcontinent poetry, and even translated one he had in his wallet for me, and a coupke who were riunding off a day out in Blackpool by coming to the reading.
As ever, I feel blessed in my mission to share poetry as widely as I can.