“Stop All the Clocks”: National Poetry Day

Overthinking in Bradford: photo by K. Hartley

Overthinking in Bradford: photo by K. Hartley

I don’t always lose it in autumn, but when I do, it can be messy: that first admission, for clinical depression; the second, when I first went manic. This year, though, it’s less SAD, than SID (Seasonal Intermittent Despair).

I can cope with cold, provided I wrap up well, but have a problem with light. And the latter just happens to be the subject of Thursday’s (8th October) National Poetry Day.

Leaving a house filled with candle, fairy, and energy saving light for the darkness of night is a real struggle at the moment. I don’t know why it’s worse this year. It’s complicated given I work shifts, am bipolar, and tend toward depression more than mania. For several weeks now, I have tried, and failed, to attend my local folk club. Clearly, I am going to have to resort to the Derek Alarm Clock. (1)

Faery lights: Yule, 2014

Faery lights: Yule, 2014

On Thursday, I’ll be going straight from a day shift to my local, the Doncaster Brewery & Tap, for “Well Spoken!” It’s a monthly event where local writers read out their poetry, and prose, as well as consuming Ian’s excellent beer, and cider. I’ll be reading one about dawn, plus – if I manage to finish it  – a parody of a Dylan Thomas poem. I’ve even pre-booked a taxi, so – unlike last night – I will show up.

Here’s a poem from Winter 2010: it’s about the local folk club, and mentions Derek.

Trudging Down a Snowy High Street After Pub

We sang “Landlord”, and I
of “Weevily Wheat”: then,
several glasses later,
slipping and weaving homeward
down that snow-clogged street,
John began talking of Mankind:
are we alone, and only Earth
inhabited?

Derek and I spoke of suns and stars
in their distant billions,
arguing the case against
our collective loneliness.

We bickered and slithered
along, all in beery good nature,
when suddenly, near the chemist’s,
a young lad in a silly
woolly hat popped up, and said,

Oh yes, there is too:
my sister at Leeds Uni
took part in an experiment
which found microbes
alive and well and living
among the stars.

John shouted no no no,
denying any kinship
with something so small
which lurks beneath the rocks.

And, whilst Derek smiled,
and Andy plowed ahead,
I laughed at the absurdity
of it all: chance, friendship,
and white beery nights.

Night light: Doncaster, 2015

Night light: Doncaster, 2015

(1) Derek is a stalwart of the local folk club, and lives nearby

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