First Snow of 2019.

First snow 2019 013.jpg

I left the house at 7am and for company I had Venus, Jupiter, the moon, a keen easterly wind, and snow, the first this year!The only foot prints were mine and a fox, I like that!

I take Mary Oliver with me, Mary Oliver left this world last week on Thursday 17th January.  I am not a lover of poets and when I say this I mean a poet personally, I like poetry and only like a handful of poets poetry. Mary Oliver, Patrick Kavanagh, John Keats, John Clare, D H Lawrence, Idris Davies and Jeremy Hooker. I find both Mary Oliver and Jeremy Hooker wonderful readers of their own work. However, Benjamin Zephaniah and  Luke Wright are great performance poets.  I introduced “The Idris Davies Walk” in the Rhymney Valley Literature and Art Festival and also led “The Idris Davies Walk” for ‘Fairtrade’

Like Patrick Kavanagh, D. H. Lawrence, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Clare, Idris Davies and John Keats, I too am a working class self-taught published poet. Benjamin Zephaniah and I are both left-handed and dyslexic. I saw Benjamin Zephaniah at Chepstow 2012, afterwards we both spoke about being dyslexic, I found him to be a wonderful down to earth gentleman. I must not forget Poet and Playwright Patrick Jones another working class writer who I greatly admire and a man who is true to himself!

I remember studying GCSE English lit and being introduced to Keats and the poem  “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” below the  first verse.

Oh what can ail thee, Knight – at – arms

Alone and palely loitering

The sedge has withered from the lake

and no bird sing.

I in my innocence thought the first verse was about the 1st WW, that was how much I knew about poetry! A couple of years ago I was given a book of John Keats poems by a stranger, she found the collection in the back of a taxi and was advised to give the collection to me. I enjoy reading Keats poetry out loud in my home and Patrick Kavanagh’s too.

In 2006  I composed my first poem titled “The Boy” and this poem was published in anthology. At this time I was study A’ level History and English Lit, in the poetry module was Seamus Heaney and his “New Selected Poems 1966 1987” I enjoyed this collection and the reason why,  I have a love of Ireland and know the history well and because of this I had an affinity with Heaney and came away with a good grade not because of the poetry!

To me poetry has no class

The poetry open mic at the Capel I created 5 years ago is working class and open to all and all are welcome! Alan Roderick lovely writer who created and runs the Murenger House open mic in Newport, Alan is a working class poet who receives no funding, he charges a fee at the door all proceeds go to the “CWTSH” “CWTSH” is situated at the Handpost, Newport and was the former Stow Hill Library, now a wonderful building of art and literature. I have read three times at the Murenger and always a great evening.

Aida Birch a lovely lady who created the Little Cam open mic in Neath, they receive no funding but there is a fee at the door, all proceeds go to “Terry Hetherington Young Writers Award” A wonderful award in memory of poet Terry Hertherington and this award gives young writers a chance. I have had many a happy reading at the Cam.

Poetry open mic at the Capel receives no funding and there is no fee on the door. I give an equal platform for poets, story tellers and musicians and sometimes we have a guest reader. All giving our time for free for the love of literature!

Mary Oliver captures nature so well her words sends me to another place. I recall when I first heard her poem “Wild Geese”

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, your, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of rain

are moving across the landscape,

over prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, hash and exciting –

over and over announcing your place in the family of things.

I wept because at the time I was mentally walking on my knees in despair, people pleasing, running writing groups, Literature Festivals and I was surrounded by many people yet I felt alone. I decided I did not belong in that world and wanted to please me and now I stand alone. However, in the real world I have good friends, four I met with on Monday 21st January in a cafe, friends I walk with, and friends who we  cook for and they in return cook for us. Last but not least my dear friends who are regulars and wonderful contributors at Poetry open mic at the Capel.


I look to Venus, Jupiter and  the golden blue sky and I breathe deep and sigh, owl flies out its soft wings warms my soul.

I hope Mary Oliver’s spirit is riding a rainbow and is dancing among the star-dust!

PS To be beautiful means to be yourself. x

2 thoughts on “First Snow of 2019.”

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