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

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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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