Friday, 2 August 2013

Community of Poets

The Tyneside Poets of the 1970s have left two legacies. Latterly, this blog which, as well as forging international links, is a platform for new writing as well as an archive of poems from Poetry North East.

The more active component though is Northern Voices Community Projects, guided by Keith Armstrong and Pete Dixon, with a mission to promote poetry in the north east and beyond: www.northernvoicescommunityprojects.co.uk

The beyond part is presently being realised by a fledgling poetry group and its blog – www.barnsleyvoice.wordpress.con – founded in conjunction with the U3A. South Yorkshire may seem some way from Tyneside, but, way back the Barnsley area was part of the Kingdom of Northumbria.

Rather more important than tenuous links is the emergence of a small but growing kernel of poets finding their voices, many for the first time. Beth Rudkin had not written poetry previously to joining the group, but is beginning to develop her own style.

Today I Went to Gordale Scar

The approach to it is charming:
Rippling waters, celandines, primroses,
Grasses, trees
And bumble bees.
Thriving, wonderful life.

Then you turn the corner.

Huge cliffs blend together
Conspiring, sides pleated,
Grey and overwhelming.
They are the Ancient of Days,
Water falls with vicious force,
But there is no life.

Life. It is pretty, joyful,
Sometimes sad, always short.
Is it significant?
“No!” say the cliffs,
“We have been here for millennia.
We will be here for ever.
We are significant.”

I retrace my steps.

                                                                             Beth Rudkin

Using his pen-name Shaun Adam, a former journalist from Pakistan is keen to expand his writing from his natural tongue, Urdu, and become a bilingual poet.

I and Morning-star

Burning sky turned black
And night fell
Stars set in shining
Laying down at the roof-top
Gazing and counting them
Knowing they are countless
In melancholy looking for my luck-star
I have done this for ages

Sleep on the shoulders of thoughts
Descended down the eyes
Ascending hope resisted the invaders
The fight continued
Till the morning-star saluted the darkness

Faraway in the Milky-way
Broke a star silently
Drawing a glowing ray behind
On its course to earth

Stunned but confident
The falling star was mine
The hope yielded to intruders
I and morning-star succumbed to sleep

                                                                                            Shaun Adam

These are only two of the Barnsley Voice group and it is perhaps unfair on the others to highlight this couple. However, as the group was founded by a Northern Voices Community Projects associate, who also remains associate editor of Poetry Tyneside despite his move south, there will be future opportunities for other group members to contribute their work to this blog.

Dave Alton