LONGITUDINALS

Strangely enough, or not, I feel that my residency at The South Bank starts this month, rather than last month. Last month felt like an induction into the literature department and an introduction to its seemingly defined view towards my installment. Ofcourse that's not the case. There is no defined view towards my installment. The lit festival did a celebration of Auden yesterday.  I had as recently as March broadcast a five part documentary series on National Radio 4 on The Auden Poem Night Mail. And in the week leading up to The London Literature Festival I spoke to two million listeners on Simon Mayos Book Review Programme and two million listeners on Fi Glovers Saturday Live show.  Non of these events had anything to do with the literature festival, where not organised by the literature festival. They were random events of any given month in my life.Having been asked to do precisely nothing until the publicity was off to the printers somewhere around June 4th  the best I could do was suggest I introduce a few readings though it was too late for inclusion in any publicity material on The first ever London Literature Festival. This the news in the first few days of the official beginning of the residency.Some of you will know what I am talking about when I say that no-one has actually tried to undermine my role within this festival. Though it is fair to say that  events within the instution could be said to  have conspired against my inclusion,  those  same "events" could just as well have conspired towards my inclusion. The question is What determines one action from the other? Enough!!"!Lets just get this in context. I am having an amazing time. The South Bank is like a massive ship on the Thames.  There's never a second that someone in costume  isn't abseiling  from the rigging or beautiful fireworks are flowering from the hull. Dancers in lines   pirouett on the  wooden masts.Jarvis Cocker is dancing at the front of the ship. Wind in his hair.  Lee scratch perry is in the bowels doing something beautifully destructive with the ships computer panels.   Roger McGough and Brian Patten are starboard looking out to sea. I am just getting my see legs. I can't make out what Jude was shouting from the crows nest but I think it's "Shut up and get on with it. Keep on keeping on.".    When I  get my see legs and get used to the ebb and flow of the river and the weather conditions I'll write poems on  the shell of the ship so that when the waves dip verses rise and when the waves rise verses go deep into the consciousness of the entire boat.  I shall call them Longitudinals.Meanwhile the literature officer The Ruth Borthwick who  left The South Bank in January has moved onto an organisation called Planet Poetry whom we are all going to be hearing alot about - especially in Planet London. I met Michael Rosen on the bridge to the south bank today and he's just going to pick up his new book of political poems and then to meet The Ruth  of Borthwick at her new offices.  I congratulate Michael on his  nomination as  National Childrens Poet Laureatte.  And  I see in the two events, the giving of the laureatte and the publishing of this book   a life times acheivement in marrying two of his great loves - The Cause and The Children. All proceeds for the book go to the bookshop, Bookmark, who  are also the publishers.Got my universal pass at The South Bank Today.  I feel a little more that I belong. I met with poetry department. I've sent a note to everyone in the organisation and I've sent them a poem too via email. It's called "Let Their Peace".Let there  Be Peace

Let there be peaceSo  frowns fly away like albatrossAnd skeletons foxtrot fromcupboards:

So war correspondants becometravel show presentersAnd  magpies bring back lost propertyChildren, engagement rings,broken things.

Let there be peaceSo storms can go out to sea to beangry and  return to me calm:So the broken can rise and dancein the hospitals.Let the aged Ethiopian man in thegrey block of  flats  Peer through his window and seeAddis  before himSo his thrilled outstretched armsbecome framesFor his dreams.

Let there be peace.Let tears evaporate  to form clouds, cleanse themselvesAnd fall into reservoirs of drinkingwater.Let  harsh memories  burst into fireworksthat melt,in the dark pupils of a child’s  eyesAnd disappear   like shoals of darting silver fish.And let the waves reach the shorewith aShhhhhhhhhh  shhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note for edit

So frowns fly from foreheads

Like seagulls  from cliff edges

  

Let thereLet there be peaceSo  frowns fly away like albatrossAnd skeletons foxtrot fromcupboards:

So war correspondants

become travel show presentersAnd  magpies bring back lostproperty Children, engagement rings,broken things.

Let there be peaceSo storms can go out to sea to beangry and  return to me calm:So the broken can rise and dancein the hospitals.Let the aged Ethiopian man in thegrey block of  flats  Peer through his window and seeAddis  before himSo his thrilled outstretched armsbecome framesFor his dreams.

Let there be peace.Let tears evaporate  to form clouds, cleanse themselvesAnd fall into reservoirs of drinkingwater.Let  harsh memories  burst into fireworksthat melt,in the dark pupils of a child’s  eyesAnd disappear   like shoals of darting silver fish.And let the waves reach the shorewith aShhhhhhhhhh  shhhhhhhhh shhhhhhhhhhh.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note for edit

So frowns fly from foreheads

Like seagulls  from cliff edges

 

 

 

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