Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Tuesday Poem: Dear Mr Gove, poems by Kim Moore and Pauline Yarwood

Dear Mr Gove

dear Mr Gove today I taught the children not to sit like bags of small
potatoes in their chairs I taught them how to breathe with their bellies
like babies do when they are sleeping we pretended we were balloons
of different colours filling up with air dear Mr Gove we played long note
beat that we looked up who holds the world record for the longest note
it was a clarinet player who managed to play for one minute and thir-
teen seconds without taking a breath we held our notes as if we were
monks singing a drone in a cathedral where the roof rises like a giant
wing against the sky dear Mr Gove today the whole class played hot
cross buns we talked about the great height of the note E we held thin
blue straws between our lips and some of us went on to play an E
and some of us fell towards a low A with its ledger line hovering above
it and another piercing its poor head dear Mr Gove we are brilliant at
trying some of us know what crotchets and minims are and we will
know this all our lives but some of us still call them black and white
notes we make up sayings to help us read like Elephants Go Bananas
Doing Flips like Electric Green Brains Dance Forever we play the riff
to Eye of The Tiger and sing along in the voices of tigers if tigers had
voices like ours today Mrs Johnson forgot how to play a D and Harry
told her which valves to press I do not know how to measure this Mr
Gove please send help and there is also the problem of Matthew who
cannot read or write too well but who can play Mary Had A Little
Lamb with perfect pitch there is the problem of his smile afterwards
and how we write this down today we watched the muppets singing
Bohemian Rhapsody for no good reason other than that it was fun and
 while I am confessing small transgressions last week we watched Mr
Bean play an invisible drum kit the children have been playing an invis-
ible drum kit in the playground dear Mr Gove I did not stop them
today we talked about the muscles in the lip and tongue we did not
know we had control of so many muscles we tried to look like musi-
cians Mr Gove please help us

copyright Kim Moore, from The Art of Falling, Seren Books, 2015

This poem was written when Michael Gove was in charge of children's education and Kim Moore was doing her best to teach them music.  She is a 'compelling poet', with a unique voice.  The Art of Falling is the poetry collection to read this year.  You can find out more on  her website and blog here. 
Kim and Pauline at Kendal Poetry Festival
Kim Moore lives in Barrow in Furness and was one of the two poets, the other was Pauline Yarwood, who organised the new Kendal Poetry Festival.  They honourably refrained from reading their own work, so I asked them both for a poem for the blog! 

Pauline Yarwood also lives in the north of England and is a ceramicist as well as a poet.  She runs the Brewery Poets in Kendal and  has had work recently published in The Firecrane, The Interpreter’s House and The North. I thought the poem below really captured the precarious mood of the moment, particularly the lines, 'a single thread holding/ the ruptured centre'. 


Across the door frame 
                                                                                                                                             
caught by slantwise sun
a rainbow cobweb stretched from
corner to corner
a single thread holding                                                                                                             
the ruptured centre

up on the fell
the mewing of a young buzzard
and the sound of a single gun shot

in our cities the young,
restless.

 copyright Pauline Yarwood

Both poems reproduced with permission. 

Kim Moore is running a residential poetry course, the Poetry Carousel,  in the Lake District from the 16th to the 19th August, with Clare Shaw, William Letford and Tsead Bruinja.  If anyone is interested they can get in touch with the Abbot Hall Hotel, Grange Over Sands on 015395 32896  or contact Kim through her website. 

Today I'm also blogging over at Authors Electric on the Referendum and how Brexit might affect writers. 

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