Lichfield Poetry Walk, Sun Mar 17th, 2013

All photos by, and reproduced with kind permission of, Gary Carr.

The pre walk briefing

The pre walk briefing

Almost a year ago, I attended a poetry walk in Hartington, led by Derbyshire Stanza. They meet monthly, and invited Birmingham Stanza to join them for the day. It was a fabulous day out, even though (because?) it rained, inspiring much poetry, and forging new friendships. Later that year a return visit was organised for an urban walk in Birmingham which was a similar success. As a member of Lichfield Poets, a visit to Lichfield, located between Derbyshire and Birmingham, seemed the next logical step, and so the idea of a Lichfield poetry walk was born.

More pre walk briefing

More pre walk briefing

Lichfield itself is ideal for a walking tour; compact, pubs, restaurants and cafes galore, public toilets, buildings steeped in history, and places and people of historic significance.The tour was not a tourist walk where much information was supplied, instead it offered locations to prompt thought, and perhaps poetry.

John Smith, Captain of the Titanic, without an iceberg in sight.

John Smith, Captain of the Titanic, without an iceberg in sight.

No tour of Lichfield is complete without taking in the Cathedral, and poets like pub gardens, so entering a pub garden to get a view and conjure some artistic inspiration seemed like a good idea.

Prince Rupert's Mount, now the pub garden of the George & the Dragon, from where the Royalists bombarded the Parliamentarians

Prince Rupert’s Mount, now the pub garden of the George & the Dragon, from where the Royalists bombarded the Parliamentarians

The main approach to Lichfield Cathedral

The main approach to Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Poet, Brian Asbury, who could not be present had written a fine poem called “The Bullet’s Tale” included in the Lichfield Poets anthology “Battle Lines” about the killing of Lord Brooke by a Parliamentarian sniper in the Cathedral tower rampart in Dam Street. This was too good an opportunity to miss so I read the poem, pretty much in the spot where the incident happened.

Gary Longden performs “The Bullets Tale” at Speakers corner, the crowd is in front! There were no snipers this time.

All in all it was a splendid day which prompted the following contributions, largely in cinquaine form. I am a fan of the cinquaine form, which comprises five lines,, 2,4,6,8.2 syllables. it offers more room to breathe than the haiku, and can be linked together in multiple cinquaines, particularly as a cinq cinquaine, very effectively. I find it ideal for places, and my fellow poet walkers soon explored its potential. For more information on the originator of the form, Adelaide Crapsey, read a previous blog:https://garylongden.wordpress.com/2011/05/13/adelaide-crapsey/

These were written on the day, unedited and unpolished. Although some may be further developed, they are a vibrant snapshot of what went on. Some are titled, those that are not should just come under the generic title of Lichfield:

Recruitment

My Lord
called for service
Pikemen,archers, farmers
Staffordshire peasant fodder had
No choice

join us
For politics
For faith and family
face the musket shot of once loved
Brothers

Follow
The beating drum
March to the redcoat war
Where law succumbs to tropical
Fever

Still our
Staffordshire boys
take your silver shillings
To the Empire,bringing the bones
Of men

Cannon Fodder

They were
sworn to their lord.
Pikemen, archers, bondsmen,
Staffordshire peasantry who had
no choice.

They signed
for politics
for faith or family
facing the muskets of Roundhead
brothers,

followed
the beating drum,
marched to the redcoat war
where British rule of law was dressed
in braid,

they went
for a soldier,
better than poverty,
tommies and squaddies expecting
a life.

So long
our Lichfield boys
took your silver shillings
to Arabia, brought back the bones
of men.

Kathy Gee, Worcestershire Stanza
——————————————

Captain Smith

He stands
Overlooking
Clipped lawns and flwer beds
His ship sank long ago but shame
Endures

George Fox

George Fox
Quaker leader
released from Derby cells
Shouted to folk in Market square
Listen

Janet Jenkins – Lichfield poets

————————————-
In the
Cathedral cold
Sleeping children at rest
Grandfather unable to keep
From death

Wait here
They might reply
The cabinet maker
Uphosterer undertaker
Et al

Martyrs
Meet here weekly
Most meet death by burning
the stake as comfy as it gets
I hear

Is it
Any wonder
How Charles Darwin turned out
grandfather teaching Botany
And all

I am
Hanley’s own
Unwanted, find my home
in another place, so Lichfield
I grace

Margaret Holbrook
————————————————

The Memorial to Captain Edmund John Smith

Stoke born
Seaman by trade
Titanic his ending
Body lost at sea, memory lost in
Exile

two saints
Chads Cathedral
Edmund in a dung hill
One faith unites human actions
besides

Ian Ward- Lichfield poets

————————

Poets
on the warpath
Changing everything here
My heart makes its way through the streets
The start

Outside
Snipers inspire
A hooded hiddden craft
Boats by botanical gardens
Float near

Three heads
Burnt at the stake
In England’s county shire
The last of martyrs on the pyre
Street life

Three spires
three bodies burned
Three waterways wet the moggs
Hinging history together
Old town

Sally Taylor – Derbyshire Stanza
————————————-

Reflect
in the shadows
In the shadows of time
Titanic, Smith, darwin
Live on

Paula Tate – Derbyshire Stanza

———————————-

Farquhar
Raised his standard
then his pen and soon a
Mighty regiment of women
Was fleeced

Dumb John
Took a shot
And got Brooke, Roundheads cheered
“How did you do it John?” they asked
Can’t say

Garrick
Actor of fame
Earned his bread and butter
With fine speeches and large slices
Of ham

Darwin
Disappointed
By his dreary grandson
was pragmatic; said “I’m sure he’ll
Evolve”

Phil Binding – Derby Spoken Worlds

——————————————

Peer out
Erasamus
What are you looking for?
A number fourteen bus? or us
Poets

Martin Ward – Derbyshire Stanza

——————————

Johnson
In mosaic
This language of colour
His small details pieced together
Defined

Red Wreath
Against cream paint
leaves flake from dry poppies
memory circles short lived silence
Time weights

Sarah Leavesley- Worcester stanza

——————————–

To know
Lichfield is to
know taverns and poets
walk the lexicon of streets and know
Britain

I am
Lichfield City
Of philosophers
I am ecclesiastical
Write me

Alison Riley – Derby Stanza

————————————

Lofty
Spires words ideals
rain riven stones stand proud
inside hide attitudes of blue
rinse town

Ancient
Stepds trodden by
Better minds than mine but
Perhaps their wisdom seeps into
My path

Twisted
Alleys sneak round
House sides that open out
In unexpected garden square
Delight

This is the unexpected garden

This is the unexpected garden

Show me
A way, lead me
On paths of truth help me
Open my heart as bishops have
or should

Fox found
God in silence
But shouted his despair
At the church in Lichfield to no
Avail

Heather Fowler- Lichfield Poets

———————–

George Fox
Unshackled now
Denounces lichfield greed
Wrapped up in Quaker righteousness
Shoe less

Cold stone
Still radiates
A fires faint heat aglow
Reflected against stained glass stare
Still now

Gary Longden- Lichfield Poets

————————

Guiness
On two men’s hats
Coloured black white and green
On saint Patrick’s day in Lichfield
Slanthe

Martyrs
Thomas Hayward
John Goreway and a Joyce
Lewis remembered on a plaque
In square

George Fox
Quaker man stood
in bare feet in winter
denounceing Lichfield City
Godless

Marjorie Neilsen – Lichfield Poets

———————————

Happy
mem’ries at day
Lichfield Cathedral is
Beautiful history being torn
Apart

The bright
mosaic face
Of Samuel Jonhnson
How many tiles there I wonder?
Lovely

Jodie Ford- Worcester Stanza
————————-

Cafe
Amigos where
Tapas grills while Kings head
Regiments form fr Staffordshire
Defence

A boy
With a fish tail
And a green skirt sits on
A green tortoise, I want him
To spout

Gary
Orates a poem
At Speaker’s Corner rails
We see the shot a sniper took
To here

The Spark
Caf is where
The inpiration comes
before the hot steak sandwiches
Appear

three spires
Conduits, cess pits
walk on, can’t sit, click click
Quick notes, cinquaines our day in
Lichfield

Jereny Duffield- Derbyshire Stanza

———————-

George Farquhar

Writer
Of plays and words
So strong they can turn him
Into recruiting officer
Of men

Captain John Smith

I’m here
See how I fold
my arms and keep my back
Straight, unloved in my home town but
Stil proud

The Vicar’s Runner

Goblet
Of glass I hold
The daily ale for men
One measure their thirst in pints, tied
To cloth

Henry

I sit
Here perfectly
Still as they carve the stone
My pose shows a King knows this is
Boring

Claire Walker- Worcester Stanza

——————————–

Trees weep
silhouette tears
around Smith’s effigy
frozen against sky, like his life,
on ice.

Housing
rotarians.
A respectable air,
the Beaux Stratagem at the George…
today.

Roof tiles
and alleyways
amaze the ghosts of this
labyrinth where young Darwin’s mind
was honed.

Early
entertainment,
the ultimate game show
for market square martyrs; you burn,
you win.

Poet
speaks borrowed words.
Fires them like a sniper,
conjures a bullet’s short life from
nothing.

So much
living past here,
the undertaker’s shop
a shock. Events are eternal,
people die.

Gary Carr- Derbyshire Stanza and Spoken Worlds

—————————————

In this
Field of the dead
So much remains of the past
That there is so little space
For now

In spite
The house stands and
Against the times
Is witness to a family’s
Dispute

Secrets
Unveiled by
Visitors allow old scenes
So familiar to be viwed
Anew

Ben Macnair -lichfield poets

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One Response to Lichfield Poetry Walk, Sun Mar 17th, 2013

  1. Elaine Christie says:

    last time I visited Lichfield Cathedral I was very young, but the pictures brought the memories back, lovely. Looks like a interesting day and I enjoyed the poetry, I will now try writing a poem in this form as I haven’t done before. Thanks Gary.

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