A pleasant Saturday

On Saturday the London chapter of my therapeutic writing body met at the Poetry Cafe in Covent Garden. One of our number delivered a workshop with colour prompts. We were read a line from a letter Vincent Van Gogh penned to a friend – “This garden set me so to dreaming”.

I reflected on my uneasy relationship with gardens. My preference for meadows over lawns. My unease with taming and conformity. In another exercise I chose maroon as a colour from my childhood and I remembered the wine and cream velvet swirly wallpaper from Keaney’s B&B. Myself and my sister house-sat for a week to receive passing traffic while the family holidayed abroad. We were teenagers at the time, aged 13 and 16 respectively. This was a step towards independence.

We were paired for our last exercise and tasked with writing a poem. So myself and my partner pondered on Red before writing our verse. It was a fun way to close a fun morning.

I had an interesting conversation with an experienced workshop facilitator. We spoke about the challenges of chairing and facilitating. I know I need to step up and as a facilitator be prepared to reign others in. This goes against type (being more meadow than lawn) but she said to remember that by and large people want to be told what to do. I know she’s right.

I ‘d been looking forward to Saturday for weeks. Because of my morning at the Poetry Cafe and also because of my afternoon plans. I’d arranged to meet with two lovely women from the Artist’s Way weekend. I was disappointed when both cancelled  only hours before. It doesn’t bode well for the purpose of our gathering. A regular ‘checking in’ to account and encourage on Artist Way learnings and actions.

Anxious to maximise my time in town, I headed to The National Portrait Gallery to experience “The Great War in portraits”. Harrowing and raw. Fear and destiny etched on faces.

General Sir Herbert C.O Plummer By William Orpen, 1918
General Sir Herbert C.O Plummer By William Orpen, 1918

As I walked to Waterloo for my train home I spotted a blue plaque I must have passed often before but never noted. Rudyard Kipling lived on Villiers street many years before the war and before he wrote “My boy Jack” about his son Jack,who he lost – never to recover – in 1915 .

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My boy Jack

“Have you news of my boy Jack?”
Not this tide.
“When d’you think that he’ll come back?”
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Has any one else had word of him?”
Not this tide.
For what is sunk will hardly swim,
Not with this wind blowing, and this tide.

“Oh, dear, what comfort can I find?”
None this tide,
Nor any tide,
Except he did not shame his kind —
Not even with that wind blowing, and that tide.

Then hold your head up all the more,
This tide,
And every tide;
Because he was the son you bore,
And gave to that wind blowing and that tide!










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