In between planning presentations and the usual exciting stuff of housework, (and Oh yes! being informed that next year I am to become the mother of the bride and that dreaded figure, a mother-in-law)I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the usefulness of poetry, linked of course to Horace’s view that it should be both beautiful and useful.
Naturally, when Horace talked about ‘useful’ he had entirely different ideas in his mind than I have now – I wouldn’t dream of setting myself up as a teacher of morals and behaviour, but then I guess he wouldn’t have gone to down town Rome to tackle issues of exclusion, or to an endangered patch of green to provide an opportunity for the local community to express their views and anxieties. Which ever way you look at it though, I suppose both Horace and myself are making a social commentary – would that I could make mine with his eloquence!
It is with this idea of usefulness, or perhaps more accurately accepting that poetry may have a societal role, that I’m proud to report that following my residency at North Lodge Park in Darlington and the sale of my little book, ‘Tongues in Trees’ which raised in excess of £500 that I was able to donate the money to the Friends of North Lodge Park for the purchase of trees and here is a picture of the Mayor of Darlington and myself planting one of those trees in the park on 11 March, 2008.