We each in turn read a poem to the group and we then had a break for refreshments before continuing with another couple of rounds of readings. There was work by contemporary poets including Mary Oliver, Carol Ann Duffy, Jackie Kay, Sheena Pugh and Roger McGough as well as poems written by MVPs. There was a speech by William Shakespeare which echoed our times. There was work by Gerard Manley Hopkins and by Jorge Luis Borges as well as work by Canadian poets. There was writing of great depth and solemnity and writing with much humour and resilience.
There were images of wild geese, of dragonflies over a river and of an olive underfoot. There was a rescued monkey and a single bat and a snake that met death. There were red dogberries with caps of snow. There was a mimosa and a caterpillar with yellow bristles.
There were themes of justice, of politics, of the peace to be found amongst wild things, of loss, and of calm reflection on life at a great age. There was a sewing of shirts, a summoning by bells and an engagement with washing-up the dishes. There were refugees. There was climate change.
There was a specular poem in which the reversal of line order at the mid-point turned negativity into positivity. There was a long almost ballad-like poem in which repetition reinforced and deepened the sense of loss. There were jaunty poems in which rhythm and rhyme accentuated the humour. There were haiku and haibun and gogyoshi.
This was indeed a celebration of poetry in many and various forms.
Notes by Helen Overell.