Evening folks. This is going to be a very short blog post because I am absolutely shattered! Last week I was running a residential poetry course with tutor Jennifer Copley at the Abbot Hall Hotel in Grange Over Sands. There were 13 participants altogether – and they really did make up an excellent group of poets. We worked them pretty hard all week, but they were so enthusiastic in the workshops that it was just good fun all the time. It was the first week long residential I’ve ran and the introduction of two mystery guests mid-week on the Wednesday night was just the injection of excitement the group needed. I can reveal now that our two mystery guests were Andrew Forster and Carole Coates. The group really were a dream to work with – sensitive, caring and responsive to other people.
On Friday, I got back from the course both physically and emotionally drained. My lovely husband had booked us a meal out but I could barely keep my eyes awake through it, so we cut it short and came home instead and curled up in front of the TV.
On Saturday I did the park run again and managed to knock a minute off my PB which I was very pleased about. Today I went hiking up Fairfield Horseshoe with the husband and two friends – unfortunately we had to abort the walk because of the conditions – it was very windy and I was getting more and more worried about Lola – my smallest border terrier who is very light and could have been blown away by a particularly strong blast.
So we’ve just got back, and I’m barely keeping my eyes open as I’m typing this – but I want to tell you about Pam Thompson, who is the Sunday Poet this week. I met Pam through doing the Writing School with Peter and Ann. She is a lovely person who not only writes great poetry, but who also spends time and energy supporting the work of others by helping to organise WORD! at the Y theatre in Leicester. She is a Senior Lecturer in Education Studies at De Montfort University and has published ‘Show Date and Time’ with Smith/Doorstop in 2006, ‘The Japan Quiz’ by Redbeck Press in 2009 and ‘Hologram, Sunk-Island Publishing’ also in 2009. She has been widely published in small magazines and is an experienced writing workshop facilitator and her ongoing PhD focuses on developing new poetry in response to the holographic. Her poetry blog is ‘Heckles at pamthompsonpoetry.com
Pam sent me a few poems to choose from and I decided on this one because I love how she handles rhyme in this poem in a very subtle way. I also have fond memories of first seeing this poem during the Writing School. I was in a small group with Pam and one of our tasks was to write poems in response to John Donne and this is the poem Pam sent around and I remember liking it very much then as well. I also really like the last line – really beautiful, but also a lovely twist of bitterness in it as well! I like how in this poem there is a whole untold story that we don’t know about. You can see the John Donne influence in the italicized quote, but also in the sensuality of this poem too and Pam’s version of the age old theme of two lovers spending – not a night, as in the Donne poem – in this version, they only spend an afternoon together.
Near Greenwich Park, March 2013 – Pam Thompson
The sky, our time-piece, now that its lighter
I hadn’t been back for a year,
found evidence of the sun’s bright
stealth, no sign that winter would fight
it, outside the Maritime Museum whose cool
interiors conspired to shun that busy old fool.
I wanted the works, for us to bring
our cheating hearts for a longer fling,
but I was seasonal, one who’d run her course,
an ‘only for a day or so ‘ thing or worse,
once sought, now blocked, love’s moans and sighs.
The afternoon drained seconds from the sky.
I drank wine. We kissed,
synchronised sensations, false intimacy kindled online
oblivious to public gaze, this
misalignment in a hotel room; we missed
calls, averted our eyes from texts, ears from phone-clocks dumb
announcements of each hour, thumbed
through catalogues of each other, riffling pages
that you wanted to read, the ages
you spent releasing my pent up tides
left me dry as when sheer brutish will collides
with resistance. Anyway, why be tender, no lover,
I. What was hardly begun can never be over.
(previously published in The North)