This week’s theme was A Silent Lie, and inspired some really thought provoking and fascinating writing. Several of the poems were searing condemnations of the government’s handling of the Covid crisis and their bland assumption that we will not recognise their lies. We usually have an embargo on all things political, but given our present circumstances, and also as there was an overwhelming uniformity of thought, I felt these poems, some of which were quite brilliant, transcended our usual strictures. Yet another poem lamented the fate of the many dead, and the impossibility of even bidding them farewell in our brave new world..
. There were three short but telling verses commenting on the recent television play, Des, about the murderer whose whole life and personality had been a lie. Happily, another short poem ran contrary to the downward trend by celebrating life through the delicacy and fragility of a bird. Thank you, Helen, for the avian elegy; I was beginning to feel quite depressed!
Our two novelists were in fine form, with Alice’s adventures in Euroland becoming increasingly eccentric (she really must learn some French!), and our Moose hunters mix of medieval strategy in a sci-fi context gathering strength. Roll on the next instalments. These were not the only two to submit part of a story, one of our writers submitted part one of his narrative about an injured WW2 pilot, to be continued next week.
We had a story of young love frustrated, and another about skiving schoolboys. There was a delightfully upbeat one concerning a rich family caught in the spiral of ever increasing avarice, who are brought down to earth by a daughter who realises that happiness need not rely on luxurious possessions. And a delightful tale illustrating the calming effects of allowing oneself to be enveloped by the beauty of nature. Also a nod to the often forgotten truth that many people in this country may be unknowingly descended from our, largely erased until recently, years of slave trading.
Another of us successfully used fiction as a way of exploring the difficulty of hanging on to your essential ‘you-ness’ in the face of extreme illness. Anyone who has ever had to endure their body turning against them in these circumstances would immediately join in the writer’s plea to her heroine – don’t give in, be all that you can be. The same theme was reflected in an extraordinary poem illustrating the frustration and fear involved in seeking an affirmation of self. The psychiatrist Ronnie Laing (mentioned in one of the stories) once said: Insanity — a perfectly rational adjustment to an insane world – something for us all to ponder, perhaps as our world gets madder and madder?!
To finish, we had a perfectly charming story concerning a cat who was much too busy to walk with the household dog. Now there’s sanity for you!
Thank you all for keeping up such an astonishingly high standard. Next week’s theme is A moment in time. Hope it inspires you.