National Poetry Day

It’s the first year in yonks that I haven’t had a gig on National Poetry Day. I was pleased, actually, as I’m not much for the concept. NPD has an undertone of officialdom which triggers my innate, and sometimes irrational, resistance to authority of any kind – even the most well-intended.


My objection to having days especially set aside for this thing, or that thing,  is that when the day is over and the midnight bell tolls there is a tendency to think the job done: National Poetry Day is over, that’s poetry sorted, now lets get on with living our lives without it. Well you can shove that idea up your haiku cos poetry is around us all the time in the nooks and crannies of every day, ain’t it just? – echoing in our heads, singing from our radios n i-pods n showing up in our books, kindles n papers n mags; in our anniversary cards n carved into our headstones.


On this National Poetry Day, Lynda and I went to visit Lynda’s fb friend Lynne Barnes. It was great to meet Lynne – she’s a really lovely lady and also in the folk biz. What was great as well was meeting Lynne’s husband, Ernie. It turned out that Ernie is a poet and a poet of triffick ability and originality.


I would doubt very much Ernie would regard himself as anything other than a story teller. This is true too as he is an engaging raconteur with a treasure trove of wonderful stories which he recounts with unselfconscious and totally enviable performance skills – one of these rare people who can imitate accents perfectly and somehow change their body language to suit each character they are portraying.


Ernie held us spellbound with his stories and an unforgettable rendition of his ‘The Gospel According to Ernie’. What a great way to spend the afternoon of National Poetry Day, or the afternoon of any day come to that. There was more poetry in that room on that afternoon than on any of the stages I’ve shared with ‘professional’ poets (myself included) on National Poetry Days in the past.


Now I’ve confessed all that, I guess I won’t be booked for next year’s NPD either!



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