WHAT ANNOYS – DELIGHTS – AND IS OFTEN UNEXPLAINED.
What is ANNOYING me this week?
Joining Facebook groups that email you with every piece of trivia that is posted on the wall and not having the time to sort out how I stop this happening.
What is DELIGHTING me this week?
Seeing the different stages regeneration of an industrial landscape back to nature all represented in a 30 yard piece of ground.
Still listening to The BIG 5-0 by Jimi Dewhirst
SOME OF MY DOINGS.
Saturday saw the second of the Poets Trail workshops. Twenty one poets came along to explore the landscape at Pooley Country Park and to talk to the naturalists and the Polesworth Society on the themes of that are the subjects of the poems.
The morning started with a brief tour of the Pooley Country Park site, where Adrian Wallbank who is one of the rangers took the group across the site pointing out how it had developed from a Colliery into a country park. This has been in the main a natural regeneration with only management from the park rangers.
With the recent earthquakes in New Zealand and last week in Japan, for which my thoughts are with the people of both of these countries as they come to terms with the natural disasters and the most terrible destruction of their communities and the loss of so many lives. All innocent victims of the power of nature.
I cannot help but reflect on this power of nature and its ability to self preserve the planet no matter what human endeavour throws at it. This was brought home to me on the miner’s path at Pooley, where within a 30 yard spot you could see the phases of regeneration.
Closest to the path at the base of spoil heap was the barren almost lunarscape remains of the extraction of the coal deposits. Grey and black shingled stone and dust that lies, hard and broken, cold and bleak, ripped out of the ground as the smashed relics of millions of years lying compressed under ground.
The leaf fossils amongst them can breathe again like the leaves that formed them, be it a polluted air, a nuclear air, a post industrial air, unlike the purity that leaves once knew. Or is this air purer than the sulphur bound pre ice-age air that once surrounded this land as the earth formed and the tectonic plates moved England from the equator to the northerly position where it now floats?
About 8 yards in from the path, a covering of moss begins, grasping roots into any dust that will hold them, covering the grey slag which lies millimetres beneath, it ripples over the uneven ground like a surface tension on rippling pool, its delicate pattern easily broken, a footprint tearing it away, a breeze lifting it, the moss roots pulling down to hold it as its precarious existence struggles to remain and to tip the balance in Natures favour.
After a further 10 or so yards the moss bond is strongest and Silver Birch trees grow, the primary colonisers that grow from catkins on groups of island coppices that sit in the moss lake. Here the balance has been firmly tipped, with the Silver Birch leaves each year falling to the ground to create a fertilized mulch that becomes the top soil from which ferns and grasses take root.
Here is the delicate balance between man and nature, where man has taken him self out of nature into thinking that we are the only ones who understand the life forces and can manage and control our natural environment. This is a gentle battle zone where borders are defined and redefined, where nature like poets, quietly says – you are not listening, you don’t understand.
But, there is a harmony here, an understanding and sense of not interfering. The power of nature is here to see, to wonder about, its enchantment not to be ignored, the wind whispers of it, the water ripples, the reeds warble. It is now the poets muse.
Following the walk we had a couple of talks – Richard Meredith and Brian Mitchell talked about the Nature Reserves and Sue Collins brought along the characters who have shaped and some still haunt Pooley Hall.
Brian also read some of his excellent poetry from early editions of Envoi magazine, some of which were inspired by Pooley and his work recording insects in the Nature Reserve. I am not sure if Brian’s poems are still available, but if you get a chance then take a look at them
Next Saturday we will be exploring more – with talks from a group of ex-miners and from the Rangers.
Some of the poets have started to send me draft ideas on the way they may tackle the themes. There is a real passion for the project, from some highly motivated poets, this is absolutely wonderful for me and I hope that the poets on the second phase take away some ownership of their part in the project and reflect on the experience long after it is completed. I also hope that the visitors to Pooley will see the place in a new light, see that it represents the microcosm of our delicate earth.
More information on Pooley Country Park can be found at:
I must mention the readings this week as I will be reading on every other day starting on Wednesday.
Wednesday the venue for the St Patrick’s Day festivities in Coventry has changed and will now be at the Squirrel Pub in the centre of Coventry – This is being organised and promoted by the Coventry Irish Society and will also feature along with myself, Tony Owen, Barry Patterson and Bethany Norris.
Gary Carr’s excellent Spoken Worlds is on Friday for the final time at Rangemore House as he will be moving to a new location and possibly a different night of the week from April – more details will no doubt be given on Friday. Always a good night.
My Fizz evening is on Tuesday 22nd at Polesworth Abbey when the guests will be the Lichfield Poets. I hope to see many of you there.
COMING SOON DOINGS
I will be reading at the following events during March.
St Patrick’s Day Festivities – 16th March – The Squirrel Pub – Coventry.
Spoken Worlds – 18th March – Rangemore House – Burton-on-Trent.
Shindig – 20th March – The Jam Café – Nottingham.
The Fizz – 22nd March – Polesworth Abbey – Polesworth.