Archives for the month of: October, 2015

“Anger is an Energy” sings John Lydon in PiL’s Rise. This 29 year old song still sounds great and he’s right, you know, it is an en-er-gee.

Anger was one of the emotions expressed at Tuesday night’s Poetry with Friends at The Mission. Our theme for the evening was “Emotions” and it brought out the home-grown verse from regulars Jackie, Alan, John, Rowland and me! Rowland, fresh from a talk on lyrics brought some Wagner lyrics too.


The conversation took us from love and anger to Portland Down, sadness, war and beyond. The biscuits helped, as they always do. Here’s the full list of poems (and lyrics) shared:

John Drinkwater Moonlit Apples

Jackie You took your DVD player !!!

Rainer Maria Rilke Autumn Day

John Facilis Descensus Averno

Wagner Isolde’s Aria

Alan Autumn

John Naughty at Forty

Elaine Waspish

William Stephenson The Age of 80

Rowland All that there was

Rowland In the heat of summer

Jackie Whose Home

John Shells

John The Scream

Albert Giraud Moon Drunk

John The photograph

e e cummings my sweet old etcetera

Willie Nelson Nothing I can do about it now


Our next Poetry with Friends at The Mission will be the “Big Spooky Bang” night on Tuesday November 3rd. Gail’s making soup and the theme is fireworks and other celebrations. If you want to book a place email



“Never work with children and animals” is the ol’ show business adage still used today. How about “never talk about politics and religion in the same Poetry with Friends”? If that was an unwritten rule then we broke it at the last Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library on October 15th.

I think it was one of our newcomers who suggested the double-headed theme at the previous session. I seized on it and looked forward to the pre-session prep I’d be undertaking ahead of the session on the 15th.

I thoroughly enjoyed the prep and the session. There were only five of us plus absent Rowland sent in some lyrics  plus his own work which I read out.

I kicked off with Jerusalem as I felt it was both political and religious.


Here’s the full list:

William Blake Jerusalem

William Blake The Angel that Presided o’er  my Birth

Peter, Paul & Mary El Salvador

Paul Durcan The Bloomsday Murders, 16th June 1997

Richard McWilliam In the Land of the Free

Siegfried Sassoon Everyone Sang

From The Bible 1 Corinithians 13 v 4-8 Love is Patient

John Greenleaf Whittier Dear Lord & Father of Mankind

Rowland Austerity

Kris Kristofferson Don’t Let the Bastards (Get You Down)

William Blake Holy Thursday

Arthur Hugh Clough There is no God

The conversation was honest, insightful, open-minded and open-hearted. I discovered a new author, Tim Jackson who wrote Prosperity without Growth. Durcan’s poem (Bloomsday Murders) left me open-mouthed. I’d never heard it before. Astonishing. Amazing. A GREAT poem.


Next Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library is Thursday 29th October at 11 am. The theme is Transport. Please email  if you’d like to attend.

Today is National Poetry Day so it’s the right day to report on Tuesday evening’s Poetry with Friends at The Mission in North Shields.

The theme was “Autumn” and naturally we kicked off with Keats’ Ode to that season then shared work by Larkin, Coleridge, Ted Hughes, Tennyson, T.S. Eliot, Roger McGough, David Essex, Patrick Kavanagh, Pablo Neruda and more.


Assembled friends chose to share some of their own work too. Thank you to Alan, Ken, Jackie, Rowland and John for letting us hear their response to the season of mists and mellow…oh you know which one I’m talking about!

As well as autumn we discussed tinnitis, shirts, Canada, bad sound engineers, weddings, school days, Shotley Bridge and getting drunk.

Quotes of the evening include: “You’ll either be a soldier or a gigolo”, “Let grief be a falling leaf at the dawning of the day” and “It’s dirty but it’s comprehensive.”

One of those quotes is a line from a poem/song, the other is the so-called advice from a teacher. And the third? The third is a description of an anthology of bawdy limericks I appear to have inherited from my poetic partner in crime, the Cagney to my Lacey if you will, the artist still known as Gail Curry.


Our next meeting is on Tuesday 20th October when the theme will be “Emotions.” I second that!


I visit London  three, four, sometimes five times a year. Most of my visits include a stay at the same central London hotel. It’s conveniently situated and the breakfasts are good.

Every time I visit I chuckle at the sight of an “old fashioned” telephone, designed to make International Calls. I guess it dates from the 1990s. The telephone is situated in the main reception area but doesn’t work. There’s a “Temporarily Out of Service” sign on it but I’ve never seen it work and I’ve been staying there for three years.


On arriving at the hotel last month the first thing I did was check to make sure the telephone wasn’t working. Thankfully it was still “Temporarily Out of Service.” Phew! What would I have done if I’d found it working or worse still, removed from the hotel for good?

We humans like things to stay the same but they never do. Life is constantly changing and so it is with Poetry with Friends, the poetry appreciation sessions with a difference I have the pleasure of running with artist Gail Curry on North Tyneside.


Our last Tuesday evening session on September 22nd was not the same because stalwart member, David wasn’t present. Some of us fretted about his welfare, all of us wondered where he was and if he was okay but the session did not grind to a halt. We accepted the slight change to the evening’s entertainment and got on with exploring the chosen theme: Humour.

edward lear

We enjoyed poems by a range of poets including Wendy Cope, Edward Lear, Charles Causley, Mike Harding and another PWF stalwart, Alan. We decided that our next session’s theme on Tuesday 6th October will be Autumn.

Poetry with Friends at Whitley Bay Library yesterday was also Slightly Different But Still Okay. Stalwarts Joyce and Geoff were missing but it was great meeting new members. And we had a jolly good topic to get our teeth into: Nature.


We shared poems by writers including Brian Patten, Robert Frost, John Clare, Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes and a poem by stalwart, Rowland based on his recent trip to Canada. Lucky man. Theme for the next PWF at Whitley Bay is Politics and Religion! Heh heh! See you on Thursday 15th October and let the sparks fly!

Life continues, the seasons change, blackberries are picked and made into crumble, compote and jam. And let’s not forget time heals so with any luck when I see David at The Mission on Tuesday his arm will be heaps better than what it looks like in the photo above. I couldn’t bear to look at it then hence closed eyes!


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