We had a wonderful day on the hills with our Poets in the Mist and a fab open mic session afterwards at The Malvern Hills Hotel—mega-thanks to all who contributed. There’s a full article beneath the slideshow below—first, here’s a copy of Gary Longden’s poem, which tells you all about our missing Poet Laureat …
‘A Laureate Goes Missing’
by Gary Longden
We’ve lost the Poet Laureate, she should be at the bench,
We’ve lost the Poet Laureate, a comely buxom wench.
She said she would be waiting, with wit and verse and rhyme,
She said she would be waiting, as we began to climb.
Perhaps she’s been absorbed in the mystic swirling mist?
Or perhaps, after a heavy night, she’s still comatose, still pissed?
She didn’t pay the car park charge – she’s pretty wild like that,
And if the parking attendant looms, she can charm him with her chat.
She wouldn’t stand for a parking fine – no official can browbeat her,
Because she uses poetic, not poxy parking metres.
The very first LitFest Walk with poets at strategic points on the Malvern Hills took place Sunday 21st October 2012. The event was immediately dubbed ‘Poets in the Mist’ as we all met at the British Camp car park surrounded by swirling fog. Some twenty-five walkers started the walk and followed the walk-leader, bright in a high-vis jacket. They were accompanied by many dogs and followed by late arrivals, the Austen family— therein lies a tale.
Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Maggie Doyle, was to have been the first poet ‘strategically placed’ on the first bench as the walk commenced. The walkers reached the bench…no Maggie. Mobile phones were extracted from deep pockets but no joy; no sign of the missing laureate—oh dear. All decided to walk on. Unbeknownst to them, some ten minutes earlier, the Malvern Gazette photographer abducted Maggie! He knew that she was to be situated on the bench, but no, he decided he needed a clearer ‘backdrop’ and took her, bad back and all, further up the hill—to the consternation of a very nice man who came to tell me that they’d gone to the right up the hill as opposed to left down the hill. When the Austen family arrived, they heard the very nice man and went to the right rather than the left and subsequently got their photos in the paper 🙂 Click the blue hyperlink to see the Malvern Gazette photo
In the meantime, I was in the car park pending the arrival of other late-comers. After a few minutes no one else arrived and I got bored. I set off up the hills after the walkers only to be accosted by said press photographer. ‘Oh!’ said he, ‘I’m glad to see you! Maggie’s up there and I’m a bit worried about her getting down again, it’s slippery.’ Following a brief conflab ‘bench, bad back’ etc, I went in search of Maggie. ‘Maggie! Maggie! Where are you!’ No reply. But then! A vision! There she was walking out of the mist towards me—phew!
Our poet at Clutter’s Cave (also known as Giant’s Cave / Waum’s Cave) was the caped Jenny Hope sporting a hare walking stick; her poetry is simply superb and she held us enthralled—other passers-by stopped to listen and a birthday party group also stopped to enjoy Jenny’s reading.
In warm blue tunic and cape—poetical garb for sure—our third poet was Anglo-Saxon specialist and actor, Math Jones. Again, the walkers were held spellbound as he gave them ‘Puck in Love’ on the way up and ‘The Magic Pig’ on the way back.
The poet occupying our furthest reach, ‘Poet’s Point’—actually one of the entrances to the archaic fort at Midsummer Hill—was Liz Hayden-Jones. Liz, an experienced walker, who had dressed for the weather, unmissable in a red and blue coat she was joined by poet Jennifer Boden with more wonderful poetry. Following a photo shoot the group walked back to find Maggie, finally, on the bench. Now it was time for The Malvern Hills Hotel, where the room was readied and waiting.
There were eighteen spectacular five-minute performances at The Malvern Hills Hotel. We had food and drink, a nice warm room downstairs just for us; a grand end to a fab day. Two of the children read their poetry, which was special. And you’ll have seen some of the poems written about Maggie’s escapades. Gary’s is repeated further up this page and here is Myfanwy Fox’s poem to be read out loud:
by Myfanwy Fox
Maggie Doyle, missed
in the mist;
there was no vist-
a. We thought she’d be pissed
off but she’d been kissed
ity; a tryst
ing our exist-
of poetry set in the midst
might be missed
if you get the gist
‘Let’s do it again!’ I foolishly proposed, and they all went ‘Yes!’ So we’re thinking of a Midsummer Eve (21 June 2013) repeat of the walk ending on Midsummer Hill starting at 19:30, £5 each, no charge for children, all proceeds to LitFest, bring your own picnic and a poem to read out loud. Hope to see you there 🙂