Members of the East Coker Poetry Group, the Fountain Poets and Fire River Poets met on a bright and breezy midsummer’s morning at Great Bow Wharf in Langport for a day of walking, writing and reading. And in one case, sketching. Rachael Clyne introduced the concept of the Dérive and the Coker Cartographer handed out maps. Flags were flying, and they had nothing to do with football. Swallows swooped low over the river and bees bumbled in blossoms. Pamphlets were bought, sold and swapped. There were picnics by the river, visits to All Saints church and the Hanging Chapel, conversations in cafes and charity shops, and a solo hike to Muchelney Abbey and back. We returned after lunch to Great Bow Wharf with some promising jottings and first drafts of poems to share round the table. We also shared poems we’d brought, our own or other people’s, including, memorably, Mary Oliver’s Am I not among the Early Risers? and Adrian Mitchell’s This be the Worst.
All agreed that it had been a successful and enjoyable day; big thanks to David Cloke of East Coker for dreaming it up and seeing it through! We hope there will be another Moot another year!
Here is one of Ama’s jottings.
under this willow
of nineteen trunks
who drowned here
where leaves trail in the water
below the foot-bridge
And click here to see a video-poem/visual haiku filmed on the day by Andrew Henon.
When I was fourteen I had a conversation at a Boy Scout meeting with a fellow who seemed ancient to me; he was sixteen. I was bragging and told him that I had written a poem during study hall at high school that day. He asked—I can see him standing there—You write poems? and I said, Yes, do you? and he said, in the most solemn voice imaginable, It is my profession. He had just quit high school to devote himself to writing poetry full time! I thought that was the coolest thing I’d ever heard. It was like that scene in Bonnie and Clyde where Clyde says, We rob banks. Poetry is like robbing banks.
– Donald Hall (died 23 June 2018)