Tuesday, 15 November 2011

An unfinished poem for Harry Goslin

07:47:00 Posted by Lara Clayton , , , , , , 4 comments

This morning this is where I’ve woken up (http://www.tynewydd.org/english/house.html). I’m here with the rest of my MA class; savouring the quiet as if it were a fine, handcrafted vegan chocolate; relaxing in this little fragment of Welsh beauty; and hoping that I have an inspiring and creatively productive week.

This week’s theme is war poetry and on Saturday I started to write a poem, which I thought would form the foundations of my post today. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made it beyond a third draft. I can see the poems untreated wounds, a few ugly and mangled lines that cry to be repaired, and an end that should probably be buried and mourned rather than celebrated. Therefore, I do not feel comfortable posting a poem that I’m not happy with, that isn’t finished and which requires a little care rather than publicity. Hopefully, whilst I’m at Ty Newydd, I’ll find the space to give this poem a little attention, mend its injuries and make it into the poem I know it is capable of being.

However, having said this, I will share just the one stanza to give you a sense of the poem:

Eleven men stepped out, climbed above the trench;
a khaki wave of strength: attack, midfield, defence .
Shots wide and shots on target,
boys lying muddy on the ground.

The idea for the poem came from a story that I heard on the news last week. It was a story about Bolton Wanders Football Club in 1939; their captain Harry Goslin stood at a microphone in the middle of Burnden Park and told the fans that the entire team would be signing-up. He explained that it was their duty, and in a similar way to which they had played and breathed football together, they would fight together... Every member of the Bolton team return, except Goslin.

As a football supporter (yes, Coventry does count), this story moved me, inspired me and made me want to capture team spirit, sacrifice and loss in poetic form. In an era where football has become about glamour, ridiculous wage packets and spoilt players, this story seemed even more poignant.

Thank you for reading,



Ashley R Lister said...

You're right. It's a powerful and poignant story. I look forward to seeing the full version.


NB - I googled that reference you gave me on Friday night. I think I now know how I'm going to redecorate the walls of my office :-)

Lindsay said...

Thats such a moving story Lara, I can't wait to read the whole poem. :)

vicky ellis said...

What a brilliant idea. I'm sure you will do the subject justice - it sounds like a difficult one to get right. I find they can be more difficult to write when they are grounded in reality - something to do with remaining true to the original while transcending it if possible. Good luck :)

PS - Do you manage to get lots of writing done on these retreats? I think I'd be too distracted!

Ste said...

Wow, what an image. All of them came home apart from the captain and spokesman. That's a great bit of history there and all of a sudden I've much more respest for the Wanderers as well. Great post Lara. Have a great retreat. Jealous!