Workshop Blog 18/03/24

This week on ZOOM we had 13 present. For a short while.

But 13 being unlucky in some people’s books it turned out that Graham couldn’t get his microphone working, and despite the amassed intellect, no suggestions worked. So the big G signed off and then we were 12.

So our baker’s dozen was down to a standard dozen, including two first-timers, and we set off on our evening of adventure with Jeff who gave us two poems. Quite fitting, as today is World Poetry Day. But these two pomes were unlike Jeff’s usual fair. The Living Dream was an existentialist dream I would suggest, whilst Shipboard Surety was Jeff’s notes on his recent trip around India and a cruise around the Indian Ocean. The big guy covered all of the major issues with especially accurate comments on how abject poverty sits alongside total opulence, with no one apparently seeing anything amiss. Hard and heavy my friend, but really good.

Zelia was next up with a flash fiction based on an event she experienced recently. Thank You Universe For my Lovely Surprise was perhaps about serendipity – the art/trick/luck of discovery by chance. In this case, it was Zelia seeing a man who was dropping or losing money in the form of new notes as he hurried along in front of her. Being an honest person Zelia tried to catch him and tell him what was happening, returning his lost currency. However, there appeared to be more to the man than at first you might think, and when Zelia observed him disappear down a dark and lonely alleyway, she decided that discretion was the better part of valour and also human generosity. So Zelia said many thank yous to the mysterious and very strange man as she spent the cash on deserved causes. What a star.

Daniel was then volunteered to give us another section of his (longish) short fantasy tale, in which we not only hear about strange beings and events, but are also treated to a plethora of humorous throw-aways. One of my favourites was ‘…it was as much of a deterent as a biscuit tin lid os to a determined toddler…’. Having one of those stampy-footy, face-turning-red-at-a-moment’s-notice little terrorists in the family, I gave more than a little chuckle. Thank you sir.

We then spoke with our two first-timers. Helen is an avid reader who wants to write poetry and novels, and amongst others enjoys Douglas Adams, Tolkein, Jules Verne, and Agatha Christie. Well they’ve sold a few books over the years and hopefully we can play a small part in helping Helen down that road.

Chris graduated from UWE in film-making, and has an idea for a novel or novella in which all the characters occupy slightly different universes. Powerful stuff. Our two daughters went to UWE, but we didn’t manage to move in time before they came back. Hopefully we shall hear some of Chris’s unique tale in the near future.

Next we were back with poetry, and Angela gave us Fire. Unusual for Angela’s recent ventures this was not a haiku, but a lovely piece in which she compares a new crocus to a flame, as it bursts from the ground into vibrant life, then slowly fades and disappears, only to return next year. Excellent Angela. I loved ‘…paper leaves and pavements…’.

We stayed with poetry then as Stephanie gave us two narrative poems. These were both really powerful and I was quite taken by the one about children in Palestine. Shards beneath the moon. Stop it, you’re getting me really upset now. Seriously, Stephanie can turn her hand to almost any topic and do it more than justice. Excellent.

Ian followed this with a reworking of his Lloyd story Pancakes. This was really funny but we were able to make a few suggestions for tweaks that could possibly sharpen it even more, and Ian will include it in his collection. Yes, yes, yes!

Sharif read us a work in progress which was a short story as yet untitled. As ever, this was sharp and really well observed, but I was so enthralled I neglected to make specific notes, other than to say it was excellent.

Paul was last to read and he gave the meeting three limericks or differicks as he calls them. Everyone was really polite but hear are the clean versions to hopefully bring you a smile on World Poetry Day.

Dog poem no. 1

Roses are grey

Violets are grey

So are you

I’m a dog, what d’you expect?

Differick no. 1

I once knew a poet from Japan

Whose poems could never quite scan

I asked why this was

She said simply because

I always try and cram as many words into the last line as I possibly can.

Differick no. 2

I was asked by a woman named Fines

Must a differick be always five lines?

I looked in her eye

And said I don’t see why


After the meeting closed, Bruce read a poem called Neck-Tie Mode which was very good and really funny. He should have read it in the session. Perhaps you would like to send it to me for onward circulation young man? Please all see attached opportunities and news.

Next week we are at the YMCA for our AGM, but don’t panic! (Peidiwch a cynhyrfu!) These meetings rarely go for an hour so there should be plenty of time for readings.

Note: This will be my final session as chair, so come and have some free biscuits and tea or coffee. I am being ejected from this land of song (Wales, where men are men and sheep are scared) a week today – 28th – when I shall be marched to the border and booted across, never to return. Well, I shall be on ZOOM and may sneak back by bribing the border guards. We are moving to Yate, where several houses now have electricity and running water. And there are so many cars on the roads there now, that some of the locals have stopped pointing at them. Finally I have mastered the local greetings, you hold up your hand and say ‘Hey buddy. Gimme seven.’

See yooz all, P.

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