Whitby Folk Week Summers

The first time I ever went to Whitby Folk Week, in 2003, the very first artist I ever heard perform was Gordon Tyrrall, in the 3pm concert at the Metropole Ballroom. I was very excited to hear he had set John Clare poems to music. And then he sang this, entitled Song, by Clare, but known by its opening line, Sweet the Pleasures I do Find. The song is to be found in A Midsummer Cushion. It remains one of my favourite songs ever.

Last year I wrote this poem using some of the phrases from it as hooks. Whitby is now a regular feature on my calendar, and I now run the poetry workshops (and have for about 8 years). Being a very small thread in such a rich festival feels wonderful. Already looking forward to seeing the friends I’ve made and welcoming people to my writing poetry sessions. And of course, hearing Gordon Tyrrall again. I wrote a book about John Clare, which is available from Greenwich Exchange publishers.

 

Whitby Folk Week Summers

after John Clare

Sweet the pleasures

Turkish delight ice-cream

Gin and tonic on the balcony

Scented pink roses in damp gardens

 

When every green is fresh with flowers

                        Spice of earth after summer rain

Cut grass on evening air

Walking back from concerts

 

And linnets sing to cheer me

                        Seagulls screaming

Sailing ships in the bay

Fish and chips in Royal Fisheries

 

Heaven to be near thee

                        First sight of the sea from the moor road

Golden hours with special friends

The heather song on the closing night

 

Banished to some barren isle

                        Warm afternoons of sea swimming

The last sweet notes of every concert

Bunch of heather drying on the window sill

 

 

Angela Topping

 

6 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

6 responses to “Whitby Folk Week Summers

  1. jaynestanton

    Great poem, Angela.
    Whitby Folk Festival is on my retirement wish list and your blog posts are whetting my appetite 🙂

  2. Lovely poem and event, would like to go there one day

  3. Beautiful Angela. I can smell the summer and sea

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s