Sonnet for the post office cashier

Inspired by my love of Shakespeare’s sonnets, and my annoyance at being ignored, here’s one for ‘the bloke in the post office’:

From the other side

Apart from necessary words, like First
or second? One pound twenty six
, the post
office cashier will sing a random burst
of tunes, or whistle, distantly, engrossed.

No please or thank you, what a lovely day,
is that the time and is it raining?
No,
he scats, he taps and clips as if to say
please go away, you spoil my status quo.

I’m tempted to turn up with drum and bass
or improvise a subtle harmony
to beat him, join him, make him lift his face
from paperwork, engage, duet with me,
turn our encounter to a merry vamp
but all he will acknowledge is a stamp.

© Heather Wastie

Last Saturday, we marked 400 years since Shakespeare died, which could be considered a rather morbid way of marking someone’s achievements. Let’s celebrate Shakespeare every year, as the Scots celebrate Burns!  Tomorrow night in Kidderminster we’re doing this ….

Shakespeare Soapbox poster

International Haiku Day on Sunday

On Sunday 17th April, it’s International Haiku Poetry Day, initiated by The Haiku Foundation http://www.thehaikufoundation.org/international-haiku-poetry-day/

Haiku is a Japanese poetic form, traditionally having 3 lines of five, seven and five syllables, without title, evoking images of the natural world.

Since I’ll be busy performing in Croome for Sale at Croome Court on Sunday, and tomorrow I’m having a day off, I decided to post a haiku today. It’s one of the first I ever wrote, in 1993, and was published that year by Poetry Digest. Happy Haiku Day!

Delicate flowers
grown pale without the sun’s rays.
Scented kimonos.

© Heather Wastie

The Astronomy of Herbs

Tomorrow I’m taking poems and songs to an Alzheimer’s Society group, something I do on a regular basis across the region. This one’s in Warwick. I’ve decided to have Spring flowers and gardening as a rough theme, and came across this poem I wrote in 2002. It was published by Poems In The Waiting Room an Arts in Health charity, registered in the U.K.. They “supply short collections of poems as cards for patients to read while waiting to see their doctor and to take away with them” and are open for submissions.

The Astronomy of Herbs
A found poem, after Nicholas Culpeper

Crowfoot and Pepper-wort,
Dodder of Thyme,
All-heal, Anemone,
Lesser Celandine,

Brooklime and Briony,
Wormwood, Butcher’s Broom
and Dove’s Foot are Martial plants.
Stone Crop, under Moon.

Walnut and Marigold,
governed by the Sun.
Mercury has Calamint,
Dill and Sauce-alone.

Amaranthus, Comfrey,
Heart’s-ease, Saturnine.
Dog’s Grass, under Jupiter.
Venus owns the Vine,

Self-heal and Sickle-wort,
Tansy and Thyme,
Foxglove and Featherfew,
Coltsfoot, Columbine.

© Heather Wastie

Culpeper’s best known and loved work is his herbal, called A Complete Herbal.  It gives the astrological indications of every herb in terms of planets and signs of the zodiac.  According to Culpeper, plants were able to channel and embody the subtle life energies of the planets, which were then consumed as food and medicine.  Through an elaborate system of planetary sympathies and antipathies, he found the right herb or formula to treat the patient’s illness.

April 2016: News

We packed out Cradley Heath Library for Where’s Our Spake Gone? Some great photos here, a poem from me, and a couple of films ‘thar am well wuth watching’.

Where's Our Spake Gone?

We had our second celebration event last week at Cradley Heath Library where we shared some of the lovely work produced as part of the project. This included a performance of Yamlet by Little Earthquake Theatre, a performance of new work about local dialect by poet by Heather Wastie, and a film with local voices and images produced by Geoff Broadway.  You can read more below.

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Poetry Workshop – Women in WW1

To mark 100 years since the formation of the Women’s Institute, poetry workshops are taking place across Worcestershire. These are part of an outreach project to create poems for a new art installation at Croome Court from November. Of the poems written by members of 16 different and diverse groups, 100 will be chosen to be included in the installation, and poets are, where possible, writing about the experiences of a female relative during WW1. Participants are being asked to do a little research and bring in mementos, photographs, old family recipes etc about their chosen WW1 woman for inspiration. The workshops are facilitated by either myself or Gloucestershire Poet Laureate, Brenda Read-Brown.

Yesterday I ran one of these workshops for Worcester Writers’ Circle at The Hive in Worcester. I really enjoyed working with the 7 poets who attended and was very pleased with the quality of the poems which emerged during the day.

On the morning of Thursday 16th June I’ll be running a similar workshop in Bewdley as part of Worcestershire Literary Festival. If you’re interested in attending, look out for further information http://worcslitfest.co.uk/

Here’s the feedback from yesterday’s session:

“Excellent workshop Heather, it has given me a new view and incentive to my poetry.”

“Thank you, Heather, for helping to clarify my muddle lines of poetry and for running such a productive and enjoyable workshop.”

“Smashing workshop – good original activities to describe and to “do” focusing the mind on specifics. Great facilitation and encouragement throughout.”

“The combination of the facilitator and the participants seemed to produce some magic from everyone. Thank you, Heather.”

“Very good & enjoyable. A catalyst for thought & further poems.”

“Thoroughly enjoyable session. Good direction; friendly, pertinent advice. We all produced a piece of work.”

Moving it forth

It’s that time of year again, and I’m moaning about it, again.

Mean time

It is the custom of this land
to fiddle with the hour hand,
to move it back, which makes us curse,
to move it forth, and that’s much worse!

It puts us at sixes and sevenses
and unsettles all our elevenses.

I’ve got a message for the Queen:
Such indecisiveness is mean,
we like our ticks, we love our tocks,
we want protection for our clocks!

You’d hear lots of clapping and cheering,
if Time Lords would stop interfering!

© Heather Wastie

Forthcoming performances:

Sunday 3rd April  4.00pm
Idle Women of the Wartime Waterways
The Barge House, 46A De Beauvoir Crescent, London N1 5RY
Tickets: £7.50
https://www.facebook.com/events/184843451903495/

http://www.bargehouse.co.uk/contact

http://www.wegottickets.com/event/354514

Wednesday 6th April  7.30pm
Where’s our spake gone?
Cradley Heath Library, Upper High Street, Cradley Heath B64 5JU
Admission free
http://ourspake.co.uk

For more dates, see my DIARY