As part of the writing group I belong to, we take it in turns to set ourselves a project once a month. I must confess that I have found this a challenge. For starters we were simply given the words “In the name…” with which we had to begin our work. It could be an article, short story, poem, or even chapter in a novel, but it had to follow this opening.
I wasted valuable time trying to be too original. I was determined not to follow “In the name…” with “of the” which contours up religious or royal images for me and seemed too predictable. Eventually I stopped worrying about how original I was and just started writing. What resulted was the following poem entitled “Watling Chase”. I hope you enjoy it.
In the name of all that is good and true
I’m writing this letter to implore you
Please stop with your building, your filling of space.
Instead let us celebrate Watling Chase.
The orchard, the paths, the fields and the trees,
The rabbits, the horses, the lambs, all of these
Are precious and fragile and can’t be replaced
Let’s arrest brick and mortar with all due haste.
Come sit on my bench and admire the view
Tune in to the birdsong, tune in to you!
Each one of us is a part of the whole
Freedom to breathe should be our goal
Breathe in the fresh air, be still and stand
For all that brings life across our land.
Of course it’s hardly likely to make me a candidate for the next Poet Laureate, but it was, in the end, a really enjoyable exercise. It got me writing in a genre I haven’t attempted since I was a teenager, about a subject I am passionate about but would have overlooked in my business. It also means that I am going back to my novel with a fresh pair of eyes. I suppose it’s a bit like the mint ice cream between sumptuous courses in an extravagant dinner. It clears the palette and helps me enjoy what comes next. Ever thought of doing the same? If you have, what was it like for you?