Poetry workshop…

Love words?

How about spending some time in a lovely place immersing yourself in words?

There are still places left on the poetry workshop at courtesy of Old Castle Lachlan next Sunday. A tenner for a day of poetry plus lunch from the wonderful Inver Cottage Restaurant.

Details below;

creative workshops poster


rainbow, barbed wire


Blue hangs like a limp flag above him

Stirred only by half-a-breeze

Always waiting for tomorrow


Light falling through these trees

As if through ten green bottles

Hanging on for the fall


In a crush of commuting greys she wore bright orange

Less to draw attention to herself, more in blazing protest

Against complicity, against the curse of ordinary compliance


Yellow says hello

As the summer strips the grass to straw

And flowers forget their gazing upwards


Red bowl of the sun in a darkening sky

Curtaining so fast that I reach out

Grasping as to cup it, to keep it close


Pink flesh unfolds like a flower

This fragile child, as if fearing the late frost

Now wrapped up safe in mother


The night is purple, not-quite-dark

Wide open like the mouth of a whale

Or the space between stars


Black like before-life, like un-pregnancy

Like before the big bang roared outwards into us

Before love made anything possible


Grey like the day she came to say “The time has come for leaving”

The sun itself was choked by cloud

The very sea was weeping


Water falling down on these old rocks

Gilding them with liquid silver

This normal place, anointed


Age has turned your hair pure white

Like the soul that dances in you

You are cathedral and I, your evensong


Sunlight makes alchemy from mountains

Now gold in the evening mist

Far beyond the wealth of kings


Brown like the ground where we lay down

The earth is pillow-soft

And waiting


Yorkshire sculpture park…

william does sculpture

We pulled off the M1 to spend some time at the wonderful Yorkshire Sculpture Park on our way back up north recently. If you get the chance to go- take it. Even if you do not ‘get’ big blocks of stone/bronze with cheese holes. There will be plenty more that will intrigue you…


I am addicted to words as my primary means of creative expression. Sure, I like to shape things from wood, but these efforts are not ‘art’. If anything they are therapy, with the wood shaping me as much as the other way round. The  language of sculpture is one that intrigues me, but mostly excludes me. All the more reason to take some time in the midst of the sculpture park. We did not have enough time really- you need days, and we only had a couple of hours. We will return!

ai wei wei iron tree

The Chinese dissident artist (are all artists not dissidents?) Ai Weiwei was given a space in and around the old estate chapel. His pieces included a room full of chairs and a giant tree cast in iron and loosely bolted together. They told a powerful story, even to a philistine like me, of a culture whose emphasis on the collective to the exclusion of individualism might have become a terrible heresy. The great famines and purges in which hundreds of millions of Chinese people have died or been imprisoned hangs over the art like a cloud.

Some photos;

Greenbelt 2014, reflections…


We are just unpacking from our road trip down to Greenbelt (topped off with a visit to family and a few hours spent at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.)

Greenbelt was great- new site was lovely, if a challenging place to get camping gear on and off (they must improve this for next year.) It has much more space and landscape interest than the old one.

Absolute highlight for me was meeting up with so many of the poets from the new Learning to Love book. The readings, even at 9AM in the morning,  went really well- in fact they felt very worshipful, particularly with Harry Baker and Chris Read’s contributions- their new EP ‘But in Silence‘ is an essential download.

I saw/heard very little this year- I spent far more time in conversation- including laughing a lot in the Jesus Arms with David and Mary-Lee, seeing our lovely old friends and former neighbours the McGoos and generally catching up with many people who Greenbelt gives me the pleasure of connection with.

Musical highlight for me would be Lau- who were simply brilliant, weaving folk magic from the mainstage.

I did not hear any of the main speakers- could not get into their venues, so need to download talks.

Main communion event made me weep. I think one’s bladder moves closer to the eyes as we get older. A field full of people singing gently, passing communion…

Here are a few photos, randomly selected;

Greenbelt here we come…

We are off to Greenbelt Festival again this year…

Looking forward to seeing old friends, and immersing myself in some new ideas and new music. I have been too busy to decide exactly what new ideas/music, and will probably default to my usual method of wandering around and seeing what I encounter.

Oh, and I will be doing some of this;

Proost began as a vehicle to make more widely available materials being developed by creative people whose work would otherwise go unnoticed. It has developed into a kind of collaboration between all sorts of artists, writers, poets, film makers and musicians.

Proost has been searching for a different kind of Christian poetry that does not shrink from pain, from ugliness, from doubt. Poetry that questions, holds us account for our actions and is skewed towards the weak and broken. Poetry that is shaped from love. Out of this search came a collection of new poems, some of which will be heard for the first time at Greenbelt 2014.

Among the Proost Poets is Harry Baker who has collaborated together with musician Chris Read on a new collection, But In Silence, of contemplative poems/chants/prayers backed by some members of Emily and The Woods.



proost poets

Vicky Beeching comes out…

At first, I thought “So what?” It is no big deal any more surely?

Then I thought, it IS still a big deal for some- and it certainly must be for her, whose courage I salute.

I hope that people on all sides of this question will listen to what she has to say and hope for the very best for her. I hope to that some more people will be set free to live life in all it’s fullness.

I cried when she spoke her last sentence “God loves you exactly the way you are.” I cried because most of the people who say that do not mean everybody, and certainly not Gay people…