Saturday was a wonderful day, I spent it in the Midsummer Murderesque village of Polesworth at the launch of the Poetry Trail. The whole event took place inside Polesworth Abbey, a grand building full of history and stained glass, more accustomed to marriages and christenings rather than gatherings of poets you might think. However Polesworth has a long poetical history and Saturday’s event was to celebrate the past with the installation of the new. Mal Dewhurst previewed a film he’d made documenting the whole process from initial conception through to the final installation of each piece and then the poems from the trail were read out. I was first as my poem starts the trail. I find it a bit weird just reading one poem, you don’t get a chance to warm up or make any real connection with the audience but it went well and the Abbey was a great venue.
Once all the poems were read out we broke for tea and cake. We ate our cake in a delightful sensory garden that has been constructed next to the Abbey, my son found a lonely football and I let him put five goals past me before the second half. The weather was wonderful, we had a vicar, tea and cake, a fine Abbey the only thing missing was a murder and John Nettles.
My son had had enough of films and poetry so he wanted to leave but luckily the organisers had set up a kite making activity at the back of the Abbey for restless youngsters. Once the boy was happily cutting and pasting I grabbed a spot and listened to John Siddique a poet I knew absolutely nothing about. John was excellent and delivered a range of evocative, poignant and moving poems as well as a surreal belter for the kids in the audience. I thought he was great. He drew upon his mixed heritage and his life spent in Yorkshire to weave a modern day view of what it means to be British. I was desperate to get hold of one of his books but the allure of kite making had finally worn off and the boy wanted to give his creation it’s first test flight so we left right at the end.
If you live in the West midlands, or are just passing through, Polesworth is well worth a visit and a walk of the trail but as another poet mentioned to me it could really do with a decent tea shop so you might want to bring a flask and a small picnic.
As well as eating cake and playing football during the interval we went and had a look at my poem ‘Gods Dance Within Us’ in situ and the boy took a fine photo of me next to the poem.