Of poetry festivals and Exeter Events

This is my writing groups blog, so I thought I’d share via Lucid Gypsy

WordWorks Exeter

The first of October heralds a feast of words here in Exeter. It’s Exeter poetry Festival until the 7th, with events at the City Gate, Phoenix and the library, something for everyone.

This year Kimwei McCarthy, the current Bard of Exeter with be there, as well as the wonderful Matt Harvey, one time official Wimbledon Poet, Joanna Trollope and many more.

Later in the month, Literature Works is offering a free half day training session for Devon based (or nearby) poets who may be interested in working in Memory Cafes.

The workshop is at Exeter Central Library on Wed 19 Sept from 1.30 to 4.30pm. Full details at https://nationalmemoryday.org.uk/national-memory-day-poet-training-session-in-devon/

October 4th  is National Poetry day, this year the theme is Change, very timely for the UK.

Finally, a little teaser, we’re in the early stages of planning another Wordworks event.  November 9th, save the date.

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Walking to the mill

One of my favourite  short walks takes me along the mill leat in the Riverside Valley Park. There are three bodies of water in the Valley Park, the canal, the river itself and the mill leat running roughly parallel, for about a kilometre. My walk begins less than a kilometre from the quay, at Salmon Pool Lane, where I pause on the bridge over the leat, hoping to spot a kingfisher.

No such luck.

There’s some major flood prevention work taking place on the river, so I head over to check it out.

This is the view up river.

And this is down. I can’t make any sense of it, but the work’s been going on for  several years already. Retracing my steps I pause to admire what I call the photo posts ( they make a great setting for family photos).

Then it’s back to the path.

Where I find this Hairy Dragonfly lady, quite happy to pose for me.

The flora and fauna get together, and give each other a helping hand.

Now, I hope that someone can tell me what this wildflower is, Jude perhaps? I only saw one.

Flora and George are keen to get going now, it’s such a hot day, they’re tempted by the water.

As it’s shallow they give it a try.

But not for long.

Someone’s been busy.

Next we cross the wooden footbridge.
This is the point where the North Brook joins the leat, just before it re-joins the river.
So we walk across the wooden footbridge.

The dogs know there’s rabbits around, but they have no hope of catching them.

The bright green plant intrigued me, it’s further away than it looks, could it be a Gunnera escaped from a garden?

We’re getting close to Mill Road now, the Mill was an overgrown ruin when I was a child. A grade 2 listed building, it belongs to the city council, and quite a lot of restoration has taken place. The first mill was built in 1284 by  Countess Isabela. It was powered by the leat and was used to grind corn, but from the 1630’s paper making using rags began. Through the 18th and early 19th century, the quality of paper produced changed to good writing paper, notes for private banks and news print for the Times of India. In 1816 a fire destroyed the old mil and this replacement was built.

At it’s height, 200 people were employed, the Industrial revolution was here and it was one of the first to install machines.

Once rag paper was replaced with wood pulp, the mill went into decline, such a shame. I’ve always been interested in the building, it’s so striking.


I think it would make a fabulous hostel, for walkers on the long distance South West Coast Path, just a hop, skip and a jump down the road. With a café and interpretation centre wouldn’t it be nice? If only the council thought so too!

I’m sharing with Jo, for her Monday Walk, the  first time for ages, Jo save me until another time, you’re probably all set for tomorrow already.  🙂

Crenellation, roof and tanka

Today at lunch I took one of my regular strolls, trying to keep in the shade and walking much slower than usual to try to stay cool. I’ve walked past the lodge countless times and never given the crenellations any thought. But I grabbed it for Becky.

Freshly painted door

jars a little with the stone

and gentle roses

but just give it time, sun, rain

inevitable winter

 

Then I thought, it’s Thursday tomorrow, I could post at haiku, which became a tanka.

By Rail Through Somerset

When Meg posted her intentional noticings on a train journey to Poznan, I told her about my scribbles on a train. Being Meg of course she wanted to read it, so I’m re-blogging this post from 2011.

Lucid Gypsy

 

country gulls flushed by the 10.53

arrow  from fields with frosty periphery

like yuletide tinsel under threadbare trees

lamb filled ewes  felted and jacketed

join blanketed ponies to nibble on nothing

awaiting a ride or a jar of mint sauce

depart the Levels undulating uphill

where railway huts stand derelict lonesome

the sizzle of pylons shoot towards ozone

old man’s beard helplessly clings to dense hide

of hedge where Roe stags lurk in dank

acres furrowed and ready  for spring

spires crack the  mist near burst  banks

where Saturday shoals of angling young men

stand fishing

and wishing

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CPW’s Picture prompt

Once upon a time I was a writer, but now i don’t know how. So I plan to reblog things I posted before and maybe even things I’ve written in the past and not shared. I hope that this will inspire me to get back to regular writing, not just a poem written in ten minutes to take to writing group.
So here’s a post from 5 or 6 years ago . . .

Lucid Gypsy

Last week I went for a lunchtime walk with Crazy Polish Woman who complained that my blog is full of photos and not much writing these days. I explained that I have to keep my best writing for the course I’m studying, and to build up a body of work, but I do try to do the 100 word challenge most weeks, because flash fiction isn’t too trying.

Back at my desk she emailed me this picture, with the question ‘What is happening here?’

Desktop

The picture, by Charles Sims is called ‘and the fairies ran away with their clothes’ . But this is what I think is happening, what do you think?

Small Saboteurs

Now my love I want you to listen carefully.

You see these pretty little creatures at my feet? Well they are my small saboteurs and they lived with me for a long time. In the beginning they…

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Great Little Birds

Last Saturday afternoon, I was sitting quietly at home when I heard a distinctive two syllable bird song. I slowly stood up and staying well back from the window I watched as a pair of little birds flew back and forth to the feeder on the olive tree. I knew they’d be off if I made any sudden movements, but when they were out of sight I went to get my camera. They must have seen me spying on them because they stayed further away on John Downie’s budding branches, still coming and going.

I watched for half an hour desperately trying to get a decent photo, several feet inside of the window with unsettled light.

They are of course, Great Tits.
Now, Paula’s Thursday challenge this week is zoom in zoom out. So here’s a closer view of these cute, but also quite stroppy little birds.

Paula zoomed in on a beautiful waterfall in Croatia, ‘stopping’the flow to create a white curtain of water.

A Birthday Poem

Still missing Becky’s squares and not capable of stringing much more than a sentence together this evening, I thought I’d reblog one of my poems. Next to my own River Exe, the Teign is one of my favourite rivers anywhere. This poem is my tribute to it.

Lucid Gypsy

Today is the day, but as always I plan to have a birthday month, so I spent yesterday walking beside the river Bovey. This is the result.

Rushing Slowly

I contemplate the transience of the River Bovey.

Every molecule of water that flows past my feet

has a destiny, whether it is to evaporate,

to splash onto the shingle that scratches at my soles,

sink into the peaty soil

or connect with the vastness of the sea.

Every leaf, green, frosted or baked dry by the sun

will crumble, flake along the route

or wash up intact on a beach,

ten or ten thousand miles away.

Every little stick tumbles and rolls

between east and west river bank,

to be claimed by a golden retriever

or gathered by a green consumer

to give home a few minutes of warmth.

From its source between Chagford and Shapley commons,

the Bovey glides, swirls…

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Rust, turquoise and wire

Find the photo, it’s the one with all three, above the two wood person.

Nature’s sculpture curves, sways and strives
to sling un-human’s detritus from the margins
to protect the vast ocean from more of the rot

nothing on this planet that hasn’t always been
then what vile reversed alchemy allows iron,
converts copper, and bends bronze until
it becomes a web of death for seal, dolphin, albatross?
to disintegrate into toxic crumbs in the cold blooded
sea fish that fetch up formed into fingers
crumbed and plated with so much sea salt
disguising neutralizing the residue of iron
fingers of rust turn to dust in the gut

oil carbon chemical process turns into sacks
and plastic bags, bottles to contain oil
to massage into aging flesh
while hastening our planet’s death