Friday, 25 April 2014

Raise The Roof And Kiss The Sky

And so to the finale of the Bristol Spring Poetry Festival 2014 - the inaugural primary poetry slam, held in the pink and gold serenity of St George's Bristol.  
Upon arrival, all was calm.  Sound and light technicians were doing technical things with sound and light, and the four intrepid poets-turned-mentors who'd gone into four of Bristol's primary schools to work with their Year 5 pupils in preparation for the day's event were fine-tuning its organisation.

Indeed, there was an almost palpable air of orderly productivity.  

Then the surface tension on the judges' jug of water began to quiver ... 

... as the auditorium filled with 500 pupils from Ashton Gate, Bishop Road, St Mary Redcliffe and Whitehall Primary Schools. 
Time for a little last-minute coaching ... 
... before the judging procedure was explained ...
... the sacrifical poets warmed up the audience ... 
... and the children got the chance to practise making as much noise as possible.  (It turns out they were very, very good at this.)
And then we were off, all 16 teams, with names such as Dangerous Doughnuts, The Monster Mashers and Word War III, strutting their stuff through four heats and giving an excellent account of themselves.  



+
In the end, Zombie Apocalypse from Whitehall School emerged as winners in a contest which saw the roof raised to a height of about five miles and the sky very definitely kissed, almost into oblivion.  


Best of all, the knowledge that 500 impressionable young minds  - and hopefully a few older ones as well - would be leaving with a rather different idea of poetry and the limits to which it will take you.  
















Monday, 21 April 2014

Into The Trees


Bluebell time.   So off we went to Lower Woods, which is one of the largest ancient woodlands in the south-west of England, lying some 20 miles north-east of Bristol, between Hawksbury Upton and Wickwar.


Not that the bluebells had it all their way, of course.  There were ... 


... primroses and violets ... 


... speedwell and celandines ... 


... bugle and dandelions ...


... wood anemones ... 


... blackthorn ...


... cuckoo flowers ...



... catkins ... 


... wild garlic and nettles ... 


... umbelliferae ... 


... daisies ... 


... water avens ... 


... early purple orchids ...


...spurge ... 



... portals to other worlds ... 


... and trees straight out of an Arthur Rackham fairy tale forest ... 





... and all the things I couldn't photograph like cuckoos and woodpeckers and songbirds and pheasants sounding like rusty gates creaking shut.  


Come closer and see
see into the dark
just follow your eyes
just follow your eyes