“If I knew where poetry came from, I’d go there” – Michael Longley
Your DIRECT ACTIONS are already helping to set more poetry free.
Imagine the suffering of poetry imprisoned in the constraints of the school curriculum!
Please REDOUBLE YOUR EFFORTS to help us spring more words off the page and into the community.
Composed Upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 –
Earth has not any thing to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air. Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will: Dear God! the very houses seem asleep; And all that mighty heart is lying still!
ACTION D YOU ARE HERE
- 1 Go to a place you like – it could be a stately home or the corner of your street.
- 2 Go there on a particular time and date, take photos, notes on what exactly you see, hear, feel there.
- 3 Write a narrative poem or a prose poem.
- 4 Leave it there.
- 5 Photograph/film it.
In Prison – William Morris
Half the day long,
Flap the great banners High over the stone; Strangely and eerily Sounds the wind’s song, Bending the banner-poles.
While, all alone,
Watching the loophole’s spark, Lie I, with life all dark,
Feet tether’d, hands fetter’d Fast to the stone,
The grim walls, square-letter’d With prison’d men’s groan.
Still strain the banner-poles Through the wind’s song, Westward the banner rolls Over my wrong.
ACTION E ESCAPE
Stand up for your writes!
The best means to liberate your words is by setting rules and constraints for yourself to FREE your imagination from the grip of tired habits and counter-revolutionary ideas.
For this action, imagine yourself TRAPPED!
- 1 Write a 4 verse poem
- 2 Each verse has 4 lines
- 3 Each line has 4 words
- 4 Each verse must end with the line “Feet tether’d, hands fetter’d”
- 5 Slip the finished poem into someone’s pocket when they’re not looking or hide it in a place where someone might find it.
- 6 If you don’t like these rules, make your own
Ozymandias – Percy Bysshe Shelley
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed. And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
The ifsopoets have reason to suspect this Ozymandias was some corrupt tyrant whose regime crumbled long ago. We urge you to scour the news for contemporary accounts of corruption and modern day villians.
ACTION F POETRY POWER
- 1 Imagine you are a corrupt Prime Minister, list all the things you would do wrong.
- 2 Write a letter poem to your local MP warning them that power can go to your head.
- 3 Start each line with ‘Beware….”
- 4 Send the poem to your local MP (and make sure you send a copy to us!) You can find their contact details at http://www.findyourmp.parliament.uk. You might even get a response…
- 5 Perform your poems as a call and response event: maybe one whispers their poem, the next shouts theirs back, poems challenging each other, arguing, making up…
NOW GO TO
and discover some secret poetry times and places…