TIME FOR REMEMBERING……..

I have been engaged by Yarm 1914 on a project commemorating World War One. I will be working in four primary schools so now is probably as good a time as any to start blogging again. 

We will remember them…….

All Poppies

How are you all in your dream-world of Morpheus?
Do you sleep on beds of poppy seeds
oblivious to heartache and pain?
I hope so.  I see each of you whole again.

Dormant for a century, my digging
has burst you into life.  The herb of joy
has healed you; bright scarlet resurrected you
in my heart.  You are alive – in my mind’s eye.

For four years you were the magic flowers
suspended between good and evil, light and dark,
now you are the uncles, fathers, brothers and sons
you used to be.  You played a game of two halves
nobody won, yet you speak together in tongues.

When Aphrodite cried for her lost love
poppies sprung up from her tears.
I’m crying for you – each and every one;
trying to fill all the fields after a hundred years.

(Maureen Almond)

Dr. Almond (wef September, 2013)

Photos from my graduation day at University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 5th December, 2013

Creative Passions Exhibition at the Lit & Phil, Newcastle

The Creative Passions exhibition opened at the Lit and Phil today.  Do go along and see it if you’re in the area.  Fabulous photographs of writers in the region taken by Donna-Lisa Healy.

(and I’m not plugging this just because my photo happens to be included ;

)

Oxford Archive Reading (14 November, 2011)

I was really pleased with the way my reading/presentation at the Oxford Archive went last Monday.  A good size audience many of whom purchased copies of my books.  This is always a good sign I think, not just because of the income, but it proves that people have enjoyed the reading so much that they’re prepared to spend some money so that they can read more.
I was made to feel very welcome at the Archive and returned later in the week to listen to readings from Tony Harrison’s version of The Oresteia.  This was a brilliant event and Harrison has lost nothing of his deep booming voice.  The supper that followed was brilliant too – all in all a really good week.

On not Blogging

I’m looking back and know that I’ve not blogged for a year.  This is not because I’ve lost interest but because of family illness.

I have had to change gear, and cancel a full year’s engagements.  This has been a time of deep reflection and of changing priorities, but all being well I am very much looking forward to making a presentation at the Oxford Archive next Monday when I will be talking about how I translate classical Latin texts and of course I will be reading some poems, in particular, those inspired by – yes, you’ve guessed it – Horace.

Bards at the Bar – Me at the Milecastle 12 October, 2010

At the Bards at the Bar, held on 12 October, 2010 in numerous pubs mostly along Hadrian’s Wall, thanks to Lindsay Allason-Jones, 91 people listened to poetry who might never have done so.  Here are some shots of my event

Poems Make Trees (and help refurbish bandstands)

Between 2004 and 2005 I was writer-in-residence at North Lodge Park in Darlington. As well as engaging local communities and schools in the project which was worthwhile in itself, I produced a small collection of poems called ‘Tongues in Trees’ which I reported on here some time ago, the sale of which raised over £500 for replacement trees for the park. But as can be seen from this photo album the bandstand, at the time I started my residency had fallen into disrepair. To prevent any further damage it was boarded up and a poem I wrote about it was placed on separate boards and attached to the hoardings. Through the tireless efforts of The Friends of North Lodge Park, (and I like to think with a little help via my project), funding was finally raised to refurbish the bandstand and restore it to its former glory. I visited the bandstand yesterday, 15 October, 2010 and am delighted to present here some pictures of how it was in 2003 on its hundredth birthday, a picture of it boarded up and how it is now. Who said poetry does nothing!

Here is the poem I wrote dedicated to the bandstand (the one that appeared on the hoardings)

What the Bandstand Knows

I
Music quavers in the lattice,
waits to be played again.
Rook plants his claws round the minaret
but he can’t interpret the song;
and even when Tipperary drips into his ears
and poppies make the grass bleed,
even when hugs linger on the steps
and a blond snaps her lover’s face
before he marches towards an honour guard of trees,
even then rook can’t unpick the song.

He circles eight times,
perhaps he prays,
perhaps he makes a feathered offering
or imagines a Christmas friendly,
re-run like a silent brown movie,
maybe the smell of shared tobacco fills the air.
An iron fountain, it’s mouth half open,
sharpening its petals,
knows everything
but it too, is silent;
careless talk costs lives.

Tommy woz here,
Tommy woz here,

graffiti talk,
for Your Country Needs You,
and at the squawk of it,
trees curl their toes,
leaves shake.
 
A finger points,
            blue-eyed cornflowers
stare back from the dead.
Save for a distant chatter of tracks,
there is still no fanfare,
no sound,
nothing.

II
Music quavers in the lattice,
waits to be played again.
Rook plants his claws round the minaret
but he can’t interpret the song;
and even when Sugababes drip into his ears,
and needles make the grass sting,
even when hugs cling to broken railings
and a blond snaps her lover’s face,
                                                minimises it,
before he marches towards an honour-guard of trees,
even then, rook can’t unpick the song.

He circles eight times,
perhaps he prays,
perhaps he makes a feathered offering,
doubts the stories of mass-destruction.
Maybe a smell of peace fills the air.
The iron fountain, with its half-open mouth
knows nothing now
except that talk across the pond costs lives.

Words bounce off screens,
off phones,
off brick walls
Who’s the Daddy,
Who’s the Daddy,
graffiti talk
for a matter of National Security,
and at the squawk of it,
trees curl their toes,
leaves shake.
 
Flowers are tight-lipped,
won’t share the sweet smell of brass-notes.
Nothing grows,
Brown eyes,
blue eyes,
blank eyes
stare from the virtually dead.

Save for a distant trickle of oil in the sand,
there is no sound – nothing.

(Maureen Almond
            Poet-in-Residence, North Lodge Park, 2004-2005)