I recently facilitated a creative practice session for the GameShift community, titled The Art of Poetry : For Better or Verse. Most of my creative practice is visual and I thought it might be fun to gently challenge myself and the community to play with something I know little about. We had about 90 minutes together, and I had nothing more than the vaguest idea of how the session might take shape. My vague idea was shaped and refined through discussion with my colleagues, and we talked, drew, and composed – building poems by first making lists and doodles. I may write up the whole experience as it offered lots of learning and laughter and more. For now though, here’s my poem, written with my colleagues, and tweaked in the studio after we finished the session.
Walking to Work
A farthing’s charm Recently rubbed bright and gleaming Over days, months, weeks, years Time patinates everything
The well-worn tracks Telegraph the sound of seasons The chiffchaff and dunnock Chatter as they fly
Over farmland, parkland, woodland Approaching the studio door Behind the flaky paint To the work beyond To the work beyond
Doug Shaw 2021
A charm is the collective noun for a group of goldfinches. I nearly always see a charm on my walk to work, and I often hear the wren calling too.
One of the tracks I walk along to get to work is named Telegraph Track.
This poem was written by Adrian Thirkell in 2018, after Adrian came across my Japanese Cherry Blossom painting online. I’ve never met Adrian, yet he offered his art freely, and kindly agreed I could share it with you. His offer slipped my mind, until I got one of those ‘One year ago’ memory jogger thingies from Facebook yesterday. Finally, a year after it was written, and coincidentally on the Spring Equinox of 2019 – here it is.
The morning tree is hung, profuse, in blossom. Speaks from every budding flower Of how, notwithstanding that a vial of poison May leech us of our love, turn all things sour, We may find ourselves again renewed, And from each cast of air strewn light Absorb upon the skin, then through and through, The means to our own blossoming, and free of blight. And then we wake to more transcendent mood; Each bloom, unfettered, calls the spirit up. To speak, we make emollients of every word And every touch distills the petals’ sap.
If you would like to own a copy of the picture which inspired the poem, it is available on Etsy as a signed numbered limited edition A4 print, as an A5 print, and as a greeting card. Thanks in advance for your support.
Thinking, thinking, overthinking
What if? what next?
Fear of the unexpected
Thinking through the worse case
Hoping for the best case
It doesn’t help
But it keeps me busy
Worrying and worrying
Great stuff! I love the poem and I’m left wanting to know what happened next…?
I thought I would reply, and here’s what I sent back to Zoe.
The idea is a spark
The conversation oxygen
Action is the flame
Light a fire in your life
There was a positive reaction to both pieces of verse on Twitter, and I thought I’d share them with you here today. If you fancy adding a poetic contribution in the comments – it would be lovely to hear from you.