Saturday, June 9, 2018

Ludlow bells are calling!

Well, yesterday was a fine day for a poet; a trip to the beautiful Shropshire jewel, Ludlow and a recital by previous poet laureate and national treasure, Andrew Motion!

Andrew is currently reading his latest work 'Essex Clay' which I found of considerable interest as I was born in Essex and attended Braintree college when I was eighteen. I have only spent three years of my life there in total but I know parts of rural Essex and it's coast.

Essex Clay is a biographical long poem about about life, love and loss, an intimate narrative that I felt very privileged to hear from the author's own lips.

Today is another literary one at the first Montgomeryshire Literature Festival. It is situated at Bodfach hall near Llanfyllin and promises to be an absorbing day.

The weather appears to be getting up steam now. Although I don't have a Ludlow poem (yet) I do have a summer one set near my old stamping ground near Allscott in Shropshire, home to a large part of my childhood. It recalls an idyllic time that seems so very far away now, but that is the beauty of place, and a place which remains unchanged.

The Aqueduct

In August haze we'd barefoot down
Through dandelion and daisy grass,
Toward the river's lazy brown
Where swan and coot and moorhen pass.

Our place below the Aqueduct,
Where iron framework high and dry,
Stood cattle mired and puddle ducked,
Black against the summer sky.

With cautious toes in velvet silt
We waded where the milkers drink,
Our pleasure pool where Telford built
A highway making waters link.

Still it stands to bridge the stream,
The Aqueduct and Longdon's pride
Where once we, in a childhood dream,
Stepped softly by the river side.

I also got to take a selfie with Alfred Housman (well, kind of.)

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