Kim SimpsonForum Administrator16th April 2020 at 10:35 pmPost count: 36
Mary Robinson [Oberon], ‘The Camp’
Tents, marquees, and baggage waggons;
Suttling-houses, beer in flagons;
Drums and trumpets, singing, firing;
Girls seducing, beaux admiring;
Country lasses gay and smiling,
City lads their hearts beguiling;
Dusty roads, and horses frisky,
Many an Eton Boy in whisky;
Tax’d carts full of farmers’ daughters;
Brutes condemn’d, and man who slaughters!
Public-houses, booths, and castles,
Belles of fashion, serving vassals;
Lordly gen’rals fiercely staring,
Weary soldiers, sighing, swearing!
Petit-maitres always dressing,
In the glass themselves caressing;
Perfum’d, painted, patch’d, and blooming
Ladies—manly airs assuming!
Dowagers of fifty, simp’ring,
Misses for their lovers whimp’ring;
Husbands drill’d to household tameness;
Dames heart sick of wedded sameness.
Princes setting girls a-madding,
Wives for ever fond of gadding;
Princesses with lovely faces,
Beauteous children of the Graces!
Britain’s pride and virtue’s treasure,
Fair and gracious beyond measure!
Aid-de-camps and youthful pages,
Prudes and vestals of all ages!
Old coquets and matrons surly,
Sounds of distant hurly-burly!
Mingled voices, uncouth singing,
Carts full laden, forage bringing;
Sociables and horses weary,
Houses warm, and dresses airy;
Loads of fatten’d poultry; pleasure
Serv’d (to nobles) without measure;
Doxies, who the waggons follow;
Beer, for thirsty hinds to swallow;
Washerwomen, fruit-girls cheerful,
Ancient ladies—chaste and fearful!!
Tradesmen, leaving shops, and seeming
More of war than profit dreaming;
Martial sounds and braying asses,
Noise, that ev’ry noise surpasses!
All confusion, din, and riot,
Nothing clean—and nothing quiet.
We are looking for faced-paced poems with
– a pseudonym
– description of a scene packed with detail
– rhyming couplets
Watch this space for exercises to help get you started, and we look forward to reading your Robinson-inspired lines!
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator18th April 2020 at 3:15 pmPost count: 36
Like many who contributed poetry to magazines, Mary Robinson wrote under several pseudonyms: Tabitha Bramble, M.R., Bridget, and Oberon – each had a different character. Some writers used their initials, whilst others preferred to write as ‘a Gentleman of Quality’, or ‘a Young Lady’. Some chose classical names – Lysander, Lucretia, Eugenia, Amicus, whilst others used names that would indicate character (aptronymic) – Eatwell, Spendall. The eighteenth century itself is a rich source for names, with such splendours as Clotworthy Skeffington, Cloudesley Shovell, or one of Chawton’s own: Bullstrode Peachey.
What would be your pseudonym of choice?
Still undecided? Why not try our ‘create your own nom de plume’ activity, part of our Man Up! online exhibition: https://chawtonhouse.org/the-library/library-collections/man-up-online-exhibition/activities/
Miriam Al Jamil19th April 2020 at 9:18 amPost count: 19
The New Real (work in progress)
The hustle and bustle of the town
A distant memory on lockdown,
No work to progress my career,
At home – I have to stay right here
And make the most of online chat
And eat more cake – I’m getting fat.
Some comfort flapjacks, custard creams
Before I face another screen.
Invent! Create! Make the most –
But after one more slice of toast.
Calls from family, Sue and Joe,
My hair’s a mess – I have to go!
Shades of grey then here to stay,
Forgot to brush my teeth today.
I’m used to leggings now it seems,
Tights and heels forgotten dreams.
Deprived of real communication,
The casual hug to express emotion.
I wonder if I’ll make it through
With money now a problem too.
But on the bright side, have to say
I found that lost file yesterday.
Precious glimpse of open skies
Surely a blessing in disguise.
I won’t take for granted what I see –
Small joys of life and feeling free.
If we survive the gloom and stress
We will make sure the NHS
Are cherished for their dedication
By us all, a grateful nation.
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator19th April 2020 at 7:09 pmPost count: 36
This is superb! Thank you for getting us started, “Homerloner”!
Lis Ricketts21st April 2020 at 10:16 amPost count: 19
We must all see such days again
This is how it used to be, my child:
People used to meet in crowds,
To watch a match or sing out loud,
They used to love to come together
To gather outside in warmer weather,
To meet together in one place,
And greet each other and embrace,
Or shake each other by the hand
Before such dangerous deeds were banned.
Oh, how delightful it was to be
With those you love in grand party
To laugh and dance and dine for free
To sit in the sun with wine or tea,
To gossip to eternity.
On summer days, when came the sun
Into our cars we all would run
And chase each other down the ways
Calling and laughing all the days,
Until we reached the sunlit sea
a wide beach of sand, and we were free
to play, and swim and joy with friends
to holiday there without end
and in the evening to continue the cheer
with tasty food and local beer.
I remember other excitements too
Going up to London, one or two
together for a day in town.
Dressed in our best, running up and down,
Train and tube, crowded stairs
People rushing everywhere
Speed and hurry all around
The noisy traffic’s relentless sound
Caught up in the city’s ceaseless motion
Enjoying all its loud commotion.
We were heedless, reckless, without fear
and will it be the same, my dear?
Will we ever be so free
And fearless in such company?
Can we return to the joy of being
together with so many and seeing
our favourite team, our greatest band
the beauties of our glorious land?
To gather together to laugh and play
With those we love, to celebrate the day
of birthdays, weddings, a special date?
Oh, don’t say this is all too late,
And all is gone, that we must stay alone
And do it all on phone
Or internet…No, to such despair, I will not give in
We must all see such days again.
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator21st April 2020 at 12:42 pmPost count: 36
A splendid contribution, Rapunzel – you certainly capture the worries we are all feeling right now. Thanks so much for sharing!
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator21st April 2020 at 10:44 pmPost count: 36
From pining for tube travel to eating too much cake on lockdown, we’ve had some superb poems about the modern moment so far. If you’re still seeking inspiration, why not visit past moments that fly in the face of social distancing measures, and try describing a famously busy painting in verse?
Some of our favourites are:
Cerys McKew23rd April 2020 at 12:26 pmPost count: 19
By Amelia Opium (uses the more respectable nom de plume ‘Lavender Dursley’ when necessary).
‘If music be the food of love, play on.’
Tents, Big Tops, and Giant Stages,
Music mayhem for all ages;
Elder rockers singing, dancing;
Staggeringly Jagger’s prancing!
All night DJs play til morning,
In the woods, the groove is dawning;
Revellers with naughty powder
Wish the bass was even louder.
Fresh-faced artists make their debuts
Playing Pop, Psy Trance, the Blues,
Disco, Reggae, Folk, Funky Sounds;
The spiced line-up covers all grounds.
Plenty of culture in the day:
Arts and crafts, poetry, ballet,
Comedy, and fire-eating,
Perhaps even pink sheep bleating.
Burdened by the stress of choosing?
Maybe opt for camp chair boozing!
Festive denizens dress with flair
In tie-dye and ‘90s sportswear,
Kangol hats and spangly dresses
Worn with grungy unwashed tresses,
Everyone’s faces glittery
Hopefully it’s eco-friendly.
The pitch-imperfect camping site
Gets grottier each day and night,
With squelchy mud that ruins shoes
And pungent smells from portaloos.
Thoughtless punters pile up litter
Noodle Pots and cans of bitter;
Their cigarette detritus will
Make returning animals ill,
For Party Land was once a farm,
And rubbish causes creatures harm;
But most recycle and are keen
To try their hardest to be green.
For the festival’s bourgeoisie
There is the camp of luxury
With double beds, pillows, duvets,
Flushing toilets, showers, bidets!
Those who cannot abide the dirt
Choose to dwell in a pristine yurt.
Though the camps may be divided
Everybody is united
In the boogieing wonderland,
In mosh pits where it’s hard to stand,
Crowds where people come together
Wishing it could last forever.
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator26th April 2020 at 11:54 amPost count: 36
We love this! Thank you Amelia Opium – we were right there at the festival with you, & we liked the environmental conscience too – Robinson often had a political subtext running through her poems.
Hannah24th April 2020 at 4:26 pmPost count: 19
By Hilawell Edgeworth
Houses, gardens and roads,
Bored people, croaking like old toads;
Meandering left and meandering right;
Captivated by a popular invisible fright;
Their hands washing, hands clapping;
Men and women all a flapping;
Pans and pots, ringing and sounding;
Society supporting, Government given hounding;
Young and old, rich and poor;
Inside their borders, behind their doors;
Uniting at eight to express pride;
In those who are hit by the harder tide;
Ensuring that Britain remain floating;
The rest feeling as though we are a boating;
All chaos and all uncertainty;
Confusion alike and shared perplexity;
Some say, some day soon;
Others are waiting, waiting for a clearer tune.
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator26th April 2020 at 11:56 amPost count: 36
Thank you for capturing these fleeting moments of united applause, Hilawell, admist a sea of uncertainty – I think we will all remember them for years to come.
Celestina27th April 2020 at 2:07 pmPost count: 19
So I’ve been trying to post this for a couple of days now, alas to no avail. Here goes another try…
Carts and queues, people screaming,
Supermarkets are a-brimming;
Wheels are quickly set in motion,
Manners lost in the commotion.
Beans, milk, and toilet paper —
Don’t need it now, but it’ll do for later.
Lines are pushing up like weed:
Stocking up is the pandemic creed.
Many a detergent disappears,
Many a soul is seized by fears;
Sanitizer vanishes like dust
Keeping clean hands is a must.
Consumerism now is king,
The world may be hanging on a string,
Still everyone pursues their task,
As long as they have donned a mask.
Everyone is strictly observing isolation
But when shopping, it is a congregation.
A month has passed, but it feels like a year
Somewhere a politician sheds a tear.
Meanwhile April’s spring is smiling;
Birds are chirping, cats are fighting;
Trees are green, and flowers bloom,
Yet life is sunk in an eternal gloom.
Every mortal mind is contemplating:
‘When is quarantine terminating?’
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator29th April 2020 at 7:00 pmPost count: 36
Hurrah! This time, it worked. A super poem, Celestina, that definitely articulates the chaos of the supermarket during this time, & we like the pseudonym very much too. Thank you!
Manil15th May 2020 at 4:39 pmPost count: 19
Now that we approach the end of lockdown
I couldn’t resist reminiscing the period.
The period that took us back to another era
Changed our lives overnight..
We were no longer rushed
I woke up at my leisure
And stepped out
To breath fresh air
And listen to the chirping birds
Or see the different coloured foliage
With new interest and calmness
Was always amazed with natures ways
No body came to clean the house
Or to cook meals
Or to attend to other domestic chores
They no longer seemed like chores
It kept me occupied
And I began to appreciate my chores
My spotless kitchen
Or the washroom
That’s sparkling clean
Crisply folded washing
They gave me much pleasure
No longer seemed like drudging chores
I always had time to read a book
But three or four at a time
One spiritual, to find my inner peace
A subtle romance
All composed of letters
That kept me light headed
And a classic that showed me
The beauty of poetic language.
The Choice’ written by
a survivor of Second World War.
They gave me much insight!
Gave me hope
and never stop to enthrall me
This little digital device
Provided me much entertainment
Corona puzzles, brain teases
Inspirational thoughts and videos
Recipes, cross stitch work
The list is endless
How can I forget our chats
All that kept our spirits high
Now that we come to the end of curfew
I wonder whether
I want to get caught in that wave
Or to stay back at home
And begin a new chapter
Kim SimpsonForum Administrator26th May 2020 at 7:21 pmPost count: 36
Many thanks, Manil – wonderful to have a record of these bizarre times, and the ways we have adapted to a slower pace of life.
Chaftea9th December 2020 at 12:00 pmPost count: 19
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Week 1: Pace & SoundKim Simpson2020-04-18T12:43:22+01:00
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