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Monday, 12 September 2011

'Roses in December' by Freda Stobo

The Golden Thread Of Poetry held six readings in St John's Church Hall during the Festival. Who could have imagined, in the midst of a busy café, that poetry readings would actually be heard above the buzz of activity? In fact, the choice of venue proved to be a great success, because there was a lovely ambience in the café. It felt very civilised to be there, cup of tea in hand, listening to original poetry and song, from people who were gifting their talents for free. How privileged was that?

As soon as each reader began, the silence was awesome. You could have heard the proverbial pin drop. At this point, I should also mention that, on several of the days, we were fortunate to be serenaded by a gifted young man -Toby Mottershead – singer, songwriter, musician - who sang from the heart. I love the timbre of his voice, the integrity of his music, his phrasing and his own ‘way with words’. How clever to combine all three talents! I felt a great surge of excitement to think that such wonderful poetry and song was happening right in the heart of the city, in the market-place, as it were... poetry and song, for the people… in a kitchen! How fabulous was that?

In sharing their original poems, we experienced the passion each poet felt for the succinct use of words and the appropriateness of words. We tuned in to the pace and rhythm of their own individuality. We heard the all-important silences punctuating the ebb and flow of their songs. The inner-voices which inspired them to write, were now, in turn, tugging at our heart-strings. Wonderful lyrical poems on the beauty of nature; acute observations on travelling to places of interest; passionate feelings on personal faith; heart-felt memories - forever seered in the mind - of never-to-be-forgotten loved-ones; all this as we listened to the sound and intonation of the beauty of their own individual voices, their own accents, the out-pouring of their hearts.

It was a great privilege to hear such a variety of contemporary poetry and songs, much of which resonated with my own experience of life. We were afforded glimpses into the rich tapestry of each poet’s life and their cornucopia of delights brought music to our ears. After my purchases from the Cornerstone Bookshop, my winter evenings will be enriched as I read for myself many of the poems I heard, thus bringing me ‘Roses in December.’

My heart-felt thanks to all the poets, especially Tessa, who organised the readings. I felt it would be unfair to name individuals in case I missed someone out. But, I hope each poet will recognise themselves and their work from my description of the content of the poetry.

Lastly, those who braved the stormy winds and rain to come to Rosslyn Chapel on Sunday 28 August, to hear the last two poetry readings, were not disappointed. The Service was meditative, with spells of quiet contemplation. I found the whole experience a breath of fresh air, very freeing, very uplifting to the mind and heart and soul. Candle-lit, in a beauteous setting, with music played on a clarsach, Tessa and Jila read poems interspersed by short periods of silence. The theme was angels, as in the sense of mediators. Profound thought, simplicity of truth and beauty, where brevity was all. I came away with feelings of calmness and an inner peace, which I rarely experience after being in church. The poetry read was a true transport of delight.

Freda Stobo

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