Whitby Poetry Workshops Showcase

As some of you may know, every year I offer Poetry Workshops at Whitby Folk Week, which is one of the nicest, friendliest folk festivals out there. This year was my seventh year of workshops and my 12th year of attending the festival. This year was its 50th year, which is an amazing achievement.

I wanted to showcase a few poems from the workshops this year, so invited participants to send me some for my blog.

This one was sent by Vikki Appleton Fieldon, an American who now lives in Yorkshire. Vikki acted as our steward a few years ago and has been hooked on the poetry ever since. She is also a talented songwriter, and an excellent singer.

The Abbey at a distance stands,
Empty arches echoing the shape
Of whalebones placed to mirror one another
Upon the facing shore –
The friendly, somehow holy shapes
Inviting entry to a special space.

© Copyright Shaun Kynaston and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

© Copyright Shaun Kynaston and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

Sharon Fishwick is another loyal attender. She runs a craft stall in the Craft and Music Fair, with her husband, who is a professional woodturner. Sharon contributes many different crafts to this stall, including sewing and designing. She works as a nurse, and this first poem of hers comes out of that experience:

“In sickness and in health”

Vows – distant history
We didn’t realise then
what they really meant.
It’s alright for you
you’re the one whose sick.
I have to care
and watch
and listen
and wait
not knowing
what or when?
Sometimes it feels a strain
Too much to bear
Now…are the memories
I don’t want to keep.
I’ll hold on to the ones
of happy times together.
They keep me going
through your pain
and mine.
We’ll take one day at a time
and keep hoping
and keep loving
until forever ends.

This one came from a prompt about focusing on one view:

Whitby Tide

The tide
ebbs and flows.
Predictable, constant
but never the same.
Surface bubbles
an eclectic mix
of sizes and spaces
flowing in, then
bursting with energy.

Bleached driftwood
Landing, amongst the pebbles
smooth and glistening
in the early morning sunlight.
Seaweed, littered with crustaceans
a myriad of colours
textures and forms
waiting for the returning tide
to float away.

And because Whitby was 50 years old, another exercise I offered was a tribute poem about an artist who made a big impact over the years. Sharon chose Chris McShane:

Children’s orchestra

Children surround him,
eager to learn a new tune.
His smile, never changing,
fiddle in hand – poised
full of enthusiasm, inspiring
and generous with empathy
of the difficulties
children played with.
Fridays procession
Crescent to Bandstand.
Like the Pied Piper
with his flock of
happy child musicians following.
All had achieved
learnt a tune
played together
stepped in time
down the hill.
Donkey Riding.
Salmon Tails.
Over and over
fiddles, guitars
whistles and flutes
even a triangle
for the toddler
who could only just walk.
Chris was their hero
their music teacher
their Whitby memories
their inspiration
for life.

Thanks to Sharon and Vikki for sending me these poems.

If you went to the sessions and wrote poems at any time during the last 7 years, you can send me your poems and I will feature as many as I can. Or you can paste them into the comments on this blog.


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