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Another great Poetry with Friends session at The Mission last night. No theme but we talked rock and roll, teenage years, Laurel and Hardy, childhoods, crows, Hank Marvin, education, French Hugenots, life stories shared at bus stops on Tyneside and the concept that we’re all “from somewhere else.”

Three friends shared their own work with the group and there were three poems by Martin Newell, two by Roger McGough plus poems by Ivor Cutler, T.S Eliot, Mary Oliver, Colette Bryce, Chris Harland, Pam Ayres, Ted Hughes, Lavinia Greenlaw, Patti Smith and Wilfred Owen.

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Miners by Wilfred Owen got to me:

There was a whispering in my hearth, A sigh of the coal, Grown wistful of a former earth It might recall.

I listened for a tale of leaves And smothered ferns, Frond-forests, and the low sly lives Before the fauns.

My fire might show steam-phantoms simmer From Time’s old cauldron, Before the birds made nests in summer, Or men had children.

But the coals were murmuring of their mine, And moans down there Of boys that slept wry sleep, and men Writhing for air.

And I saw white bones in the cinder-shard, Bones without number. Many the muscled bodies charred, And few remember.

I thought of all that worked dark pits Of war, and died Digging the rock where Death reputes Peace lies indeed.

Comforted years will sit soft-chaired, In rooms of amber; The years will stretch their hands, well-cheered By our life’s ember;

The centuries will burn rich loads With which we groaned, Whose warmth shall lull their dreaming lids, While songs are crooned; But they will not dream of us poor lads,

Left in the ground.

John said he missed having a theme and the majority agreed so the theme for our next sesh on Tuesday March 19th is Numbers, suggested by the legendary Ken Creen.

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