Chiswick: 25 July 2017

A wonderful meeting in a beautiful Chiswick garden on a fine summer evening. We started most appropriately with one of Carol Ann Duffy’s bee inspired poems, and several readers thereafter stuck to the outdoors theme. Walter Raleigh’s poem of an elderly man disliking a garden party, Charles Causley’s reminiscence of a family picnic from his youth and Laurie Lee’s The Three Winds all fell into this into this category.

Gradually, however, more serious themes emerged. An emotional reading, in memory of a recently departed friend, of Elizabeth Bishop’s poem about standing up against the impact of loss was quickly followed by I Will Live and Survive, a defiant statement of how a political prisoner in Russia fought against her situation by identifying the few small things of beauty around her. Not everyone found poems which identified as much optimism. “Minority” dealt with the problems for an immigrant of always feeling an outsider. Francis Scarfe’s poem told of a housewife in the war being gradually dragged by events into the problems of the home front and Edward Thomas’ “Lights Out” showed the black despair of a soldier who felt doomed to die.

We strayed into philosophical debate of the role of children in the poems by Kahlil Gibran and Anne Rider and of the benefit of having support from others in Rumi’s “Woven”.

Finally a good evening of varied poems was brought to a humorous end by some very elementary algebra in “z+b+x=y+b+y” and the significance of the Butterfly’s Wing in Chaos theory.


Sarah Haimendorf Virgil”s Bees Carol Ann Duffy
Kathy Hall One Art Elizabeth Bishop
Claire Williamson An Elderly Man Walter Raleigh not the famous one)
Geoff Hurst Minority Imtiaz Dharker
Hilary Nicholson I Will Live & Survive Irina Ratushinskya
Annie Briers Ballad of the Safe Area Francis Scarfe
Harvey Rose Lights Out Edward Thomas
Anthonia Chalmers Eden Rock Charles Causley
Paul Williamson To a Poet 1,000 Years Hence James Elroy Flecker
John Lavers Pomegranite Kevin Pilkington
Annie Cartland Children extract from The Prophet Kahlil Gibran
Jo Hurn The Three Winds Laurie Lee
Trevor Barnes Nothing is Lost Anne Ridler
Lynn Young Woven Rumi
Susan Stanley-Carroll A Butterfly’s Song Rishi Dastidar


Our next reading will be on Tuesday 26th September, 2017 @ the Oxfam Bookshop, Turnham Green Terrace, W.4.

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