Talking Heads

24 Feb

Last Thursday, I gave another poetry reading at Walthew House in Stockport – my third.  They have asked me back for a fourth visit.   One chap (he’s a chap because he’s from the older generation; if he was my age, he’d be a man; Spud’s age, he’d be a lad.  Isn’t language funny?) told me that they had talked about me long after I left last time; then hastened to assure me he meant, ‘in a good way.’ Hmm.

It wasn’t me so much, but the poetry.  They are a wonderful, lively group called Talking Heads, and that’s what they do: talk.  A lot.  The poems I read caused much debate.  The group leader had asked for poems on the theme of ‘spring’ so I had prepared about forty poems (I was due to read for an hour), including some of my own.  The topics of mine varied from cleaning to seduction to dog poo, but all mentioned spring.

They enjoyed one poem so much – six lines on World War One military equipment – they asked for the name of the poet…which was me.  I was delighted to send two people home with copies of the poem – the first time that’s ever happened.

The chap who asked, Vincent, told us it reminded him of a poem he had written when his son was serving in Iraq during the Second Gulf War.  He wondered if he could read it to us, but the memory of his emotion at the time – the absolute fear from having a child in a war zone – choked him up so much, it was fifteen minutes before he composed himself enough to read it.  It was worth the wait: lovely; touching and heartfelt.

After some talk of Thomas Hardy (none of whose poems I had read, but that will show you the meandering nature of the discussions), Vincent mentioned that his son’s best friend had sent him a collection of Hardy’s poems, underlining The Darkling Thrush in the Contents as his favourite poem.  A couple of days after receiving the book Vincent, unable to stay in the house and listen to war news on the radio, had taken an evening walk and came across a lone thrush, singing a solo symphony in the evening air.  Vincent was entranced.

Returning home, there was a phone call around 11:30 that night.  Shaking, he answered.  It was his son: Dad, I’m home!  He didn’t have time to talk because there were several people he had to call with the news, but his Dad had been first on the list.

Next evening, Vincent took another walk and came across the same thrush, singing in celebration, it seemed.  Vincent said he yelled at it: You knew he was safe last night, didn’t you?  You could have told me!  Neither Vincent nor the thrush took any notice of the people staring at the barmy man yelling at a bird in the tree.

What a wonderful story, provoked by a poem.  And that’s why I love poetry.

24 Responses to “Talking Heads”

  1. jmgoyder at 15:24 #

    And this is why we love you! What a beautiful account of what sounds like a very interesting evening. Could you please post some poems?


  2. Morgan at 15:28 #

    Love this..and I really love that pic/quote 🙂 funny!


  3. sharechair at 15:50 #

    and a young woman? middle aged woman? older generation woman? do we have three separate words for them, too?


    • colonialist at 16:20 #

      Yes, witch are: maiden, mother and crone!
      *scoots, cackling*


      • sharechair at 17:33 #

        CRONE????!!!! Husband gets to be a “chap” but I’m a CRONE????
        This is not good. Not good at all…… 🙄


  4. colonialist at 16:30 #

    What is that cavalier-type on about?
    How sweetly rose that angel cat,
    To give a message quite like that.
    You had them listening to poetry for an hour?????
    Love the thrush story.


    • Tilly could keep them entranced all day – she did me when she came to stay.

      Vincent sounds like a delightful chap (no other word seems right). Did you mean to say that you haven’t read any Hardy poems? I prefer his poetry to his novels!


  5. slpmartin at 16:54 #

    So lovely and rewarding that your poetry engendered so much lively discussion.


  6. Grannymar at 18:04 #

    What a wonderful tale you discovered after giving so much pleasure to the Talking Heads!


  7. laurieanichols at 20:11 #

    Age is relative; I love the nomenclature! chap, lad, man. I am so glad that you had such a wonderful and meaningful poetry reading. 😀


  8. Love the cat’s version.


  9. Rorybore at 23:01 #

    That first one needs to be a fridge magnet. on a wine fridge of course.
    Just love stories like this: inspiration from every day life: in all it’s glory, fear, pain…..or just a singing bird in a tree. beautiful.


  10. siggiofmaine at 07:44 #

    A lovely lovely post…thank you and I am so happy I checked before bedtime to see if a post was her…
    I the singing bird…wow !
    I guess I must be a crone in your English English language ! (mine being American English of course). I love listening to someone read poetry who loves it…and I’m sure you have them enthralled.

    Peace and love


    • siggiofmaine at 07:46 #

      I typed too fast on the singing bird sentence… it was to be
      I love the story of the singing bird…it is so tender and heartwarming…
      thank you for sharing it.


  11. What a wonderful afternoon (I think maybe I am assuming the poetry reading an afternoon – it seems like the right time to have one 🙂 ) – not just that your poetry reading went well, but the meeting with Vincent.


  12. Three Well Beings at 06:46 #

    This really does sound like a wonderful group of people and a marvelous opportunity to share with like-minded individuals. I would have enjoyed it!


  13. Indira at 20:21 #

    Why didn’t you post thaat poem, i would love to read it.


  14. bluebee at 21:47 #

    What a wonderful story. And poetry brought it about.


I welcome your comments but be warned: I'm menopausal and as likely to snarl as smile. Wine or Maltesers are an acceptable bribe; or a compliment about my youthful looks and cheery disposition will do in a pinch.

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