Before I post another short poem – lyrical but written when I was quite mentally and spiritually tired – let me reord that I bewitched an audience this week. Harwich, the port town where I live, has been having a week-long festival. One item was a poetry reading on a moored barge. I hadn’t realised that it was organised by U3A, which organises educational things for older people (mostly women) and my first thought was that the audience and my poetry might not fit. Listening to what other people had chosen to bring – mostly work by recognised poets – and how the audience reacted, I began to suspect their tastes were quite wide. I’d printed a number of poems precisely because I had little idea of what the feel of the event or the audience would be like. So which should I read?
Something told me to read DEATH AND THE MAGICIAN, a lyrical poem in ballad form about coming to terms with death – not at all the obvious subject for the audience. But three lines in I knew I had them. A kind of spell had been cast; a kind of bond had been forged. When I finished there was a moment’s silence as of shock, but I knew it wasn’t a silence of confusion or indifference. Then came the applause.
Did I feel proud? No, humble. I’m not the kind of religious person to claim sightings of God very often, but I felt God in me.
Now for today’s offering:
IF I COULD FLY
If I could fly from a trapping tower
I’d land by night on the shifting shore
Where no man rules or knows the hour.
If I could fly from endless sound
I’d take my rest in a watchful town
Which listened for the music round.
If I could fly from a sentenced frame
I’d fly to the shifting shore again
And in the waves I’d drop my name.
copyright Simon Banks 2012
Just a hint of Christina Rossetti there?