I confess that when I realized the subject for this reading week was The Stolen Corpse I was a bit thrown. It seemed all too apt for a world in grip of plague. But I do the programme many months ahead, of course, and whoever supplied the theme had no idea how much the world was about to be transformed. So to change or not to change was the question (sorry, bard) and on reflection I decided that Shorelinkers were a hardy lot and would deal with it, as with the virus, in their usual inimitable way. And, my goodness, you have proved me right.
We kicked off with the theft of a 95 year old man’s corpse from a funeral parlour which turned into a clever and funny pastiche on the art world. Who would have guessed this man was literally a walking Picasso? Well, only the body snatchers. And they did return the corpse, almost intact. The next stolen corpse sat next to a lady who was searching for her lost dog and was being helped by a kind stranger. Both she and we were relieved when it actually did turn out to be a kind stranger!
In fact, nearly everyone wrote on the theme. There was a fascinating true story of the grave robbers who tried to blackmail Charlie Chaplin’s widow – I vaguely remembered that; truth really can be stranger than fiction. And a wonderfully gruesome take on cannibalism from our most consistently blood-thirsty writer! This was followed by a missing corpse in a gloriously surrealistic tale –as the writer said, what do you make of that?!
There had to be an apocalyptic one, of course, and this had everything – fire, floods, pestilence and damnation but not a nun in sight (you have to be a Shorelinker to get that!) Bob’s Your Uncle apparently actually was someone’s uncle though not yet a corpse. Some of us reflected on the wildlife, a sympathetic one of a scavenging fox, an affectionate take on a marauding cat, and a play on the similarity of the words corpse and crops all added to the mix. A witty poem mused on the Frankenstein story and we were treated to some more mysterious magic in another chapter of the moose saga.
But there was some serious stuff as well. A splendid poem on the famous WW1 Christmas truce, and an extremely moving one in memoriam of the writer’s dad. I thought one poem, was so relevant it seemed a pity not to share it on our web site so I have added it to the bottom of this blog, with thanks to Kate.
Once again, well done everyone. It will be lovely when we can all meet again, but I feel close to you all when I read your pieces. Next week’s theme (and they are always optional, of course) is Once I was 7 years old…It was to have been our Westfield week and the 500 word challenge, and I think we should try to stick to at least the 500 word challenge.
So- keep them coming! My love to you all. Sally
Kate’s poem below:
Britain’s fast becoming a nation
Of social distancing and isolation.
It goes against our natural grain
And puts us under quite a strain.
No cosy chats over cups of tea –
Cafes are closed and so are we –
Compelled to stay at home, we must
Be dutiful and place our trust
In health advisors, government chaps
And in police, for should we lapse
And venture out into the street
They’ll fine us heavily, tout de suite!
But wait! That may not be so bad,
Let’s not be absolutely sad,
For now we have the perfect chance
To learn a language, paint or dance –
Everything’s online out there,
So now we have long hours to spare
The world’s our oyster, it must be said
We might even learn to bake our own bread!
We might consider doing more
To help our neighbours, folk next door.
We’ll help preserve immunity
By helping the community.
If we have to stay at home
We can at least contact by phone
Those who are in isolation,
We could be their consolation.
It may well be when all is through
That planet earth begins anew.
With eyes wide open we may see
The world return to sanity
A world restored to life and health,
Where people matter more than wealth.
And things that once we valued so
Like trips to sunny Mexico,
Foods flown half-way round the planet
To feed the greed of the human gannet
May soon be replaced with local fare
And there will be enough to share.
We can and must rescue this earth-
Our home – and recognize its worth.
Corona is a wake- up call
And should be heeded by us all.
Let’s stop the use of oil and gas
While we still can – if not, alas!
There’ll be no seasons, no night or day
Only famine, disease and decay.