Saturday, 18 April 2015

The Poet & the Mermaid

How did Garrison Keillor begin those cult radio broadcasts of his in that oh so lugubrious voice? "It's been another quiet week in Lake Woebegone..." or words to that effect.

Well, it's been another torrid week in the Jewel of the North. My beloved Seasiders lost again and are on track for the all-time record lowest points total in the Championship. They are nothing if not consistent - it's just not a very appetising consistency. Meanwhile, the owners of our club are bringing it further into disrepute in the eyes of many by compounding their poor custodianship with a spate of legal actions against outspoken fans. It's as though they've discovered a whole new 'revenue stream' in threatening to sue fans for defamation and then settling out of court for hefty sums and bogus public apologies - their latest target being a retiree who faces a £20,000 fine. Wouldn't an apology alone have sufficed? I also read in the local paper that plans for Oystown have moved a step nearer. It's not really called that (at least I hope not), but it seems that permission is close to being granted for a big development at Whyndyke Farm - on land owned by the Oyston family and Northern Trust - to build 1,400 new houses plus schools and 'employment spaces' on a green site on the outskirts of Blackpool. It's depressing. The real need for quality housing is in the town itself.

All of which rant has little to do with this week's theme of Seashore, except that it's happening in the place that I chose to come and live just under two years ago and none of it is a change for the better, which makes me angry and sad, because I love Blackpool. All of my working life has been spent in places that just happen to be about as far from the coast as it's possible to get in England, so when I retired I was keen to live by the sea - and what nicer place than this? I love the climate, I love the quality of light and air that comes from being on the coast. I love being able to walk from house to seafront in ten minutes and the stretch of seashore along the Fylde coast is just magnificent. Seaside is best!

So to lighten a dark mood with some lyrical whimsy and a bit of allure, I give you this week's thematic poem...

The Poet & the Mermaid
I scrawled a poem in the sand,
a mermaid chanced to read it.
She said she was surprised to find
that all the verses didn’t rhyme;
for she’d been led to understand
from merschool days
that rhyme would be a telling sign
of any poem by human hand. 

I smiled and pointed out
how sense and scansion
ebbed and flowed just like a tide,
constant but irregular,
with powerful cross-currents
to the meaning and the metre. 

She smiled in turn
and spoke with candour,
aided by expressive swish of tail,
that poetry was froth and bubbles,
flotsam and jetsam.
I asked if she was being metaphorical.
She laughed and said ‘quite littoral’,
then swam away. 

I had to admit,
as a sweeping wave
rendered my work unreadable,
that the tideline
written in its place
was the more believable.
Thanks for reading. Have a quiet week. S ;-)


Christo said...

Very entertaining, Steve.