Poetry with Friends, the poetry appreciation gang I attempt to oversee with artist Gail Curry continues to inspire and educate me. I say “attempt to oversee” in a light-hearted way. It’s a comment on how the group has evolved over time and, in the words of Thoreau, dances to its own tune:

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” Henry David Thoreau

Our Poetry with Friends group on a Tuesday evening is currently homeless. We will be rehoused but in the meantime took our lack of home as an excuse to visit one of our gang who has been too unwell to join us.

Last night (Thursday I know, not Tuesday but who is keeping tabs on us? We dance to our own tune!) Rowland, Pat and I visited John and enjoyed a PWF session. I kicked off reading John the poem written by one of our chums Harry Gallagher for last night’s host. John LOVES the poem. Thank you Harry.

We also shared poems by C S Lewis, Mary Oliver (Ha! No surprise from Pat but who tires of Wild Geese?), W. H Davies’ Leisure and our favourite poet, Anon. Rowland gave a top notch rendition of The Licorice Fields at Pontefract by Betjeman amd I enjoyed reading Timothy Winters by Charles Causley.

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John and I read some of his poems and his son shared one of his own as well as giving a wonderful reading of Ella Wheeler Wilcox’s Solitude:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;

Weep, and you weep alone;

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,

But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;

Sigh, it is lost on the air;

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,

But shrink from voicing care.

 

Rejoice, and men will seek you;

Grieve, and they turn and go;

They want full measure of all your pleasure,

But they do not need your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;

Be sad, and you lose them all,—

There are none to decline your nectared wine,

But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;

Fast, and the world goes by.

Succeed and give, and it helps you live,

But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure

For a large and lordly train,

But one by one we must all file on

Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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