"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
When I am prime minister, dear reader, every funeral will have dancing. Thanks to her brilliant and brave daughters, friend Ann (always the life and soul of the party) got a send-off that was worthy of her own generosity, her joie de vivre and her wicked sense of humour. It became an afternoon of poetry, music, thanksgiving and surprising laughter. It was a heartbreaking day, but also a time of healing and reunion; a day to give thanks for one’s friends.
Friendship, then, was on my mind as I drove through the little lanes of the Peak District to Calke Abbey where I was poet in residence for the National Trust’s Convestival. I used to work for the Trust and I love joining their conferences as a sort of well-informed guest. I got them to tell me – what has a friend done for you? The resulting poem is no masterpiece because it is a work of collaboration and community, not intended for the serious poetry fraternity. But those who were at the conference can hear it here, and I hope it makes them smile as they hear their own lines.
Just posted by another friend, Andy Jackson of Red Squirrel, is this little video of me reading my poem from his anthology, Split Screen. The poems in the book are all about TV programmes and mine is a take on Tom & Jerry…
Great Plans are afoot for an enormous boat journey and pastures new. Watch this space. In the meantime, count your friends, dear reader, and be Very Very Nice to them.