Saturday, 4 June 2011

A Splash of Happiness!

This spring I have finally succeeded in having enough lily of the valley in flower to call a display (more truthfully a splash). Various neighbours and friends have given me roots over the last 5 years and at last there is a considerable spread of them. In the language of flowers they indicate "the return of happiness", and I was certainly happy to see them bloom! The French are more accurate than we are in calling them muguets des bois, (of the woods), rather than of the valley as we do. They like a semi-woodland setting. Mine are under a shrub rose, a tall buddleia, and a tree of heaven. Heaven and happiness together - I wish!

But they have accompanied a period of joy - the other pic was taken at the British Academy where I went (for the second year running) to receive 3rd prize in the English Fellows' Prize for Poetry. It is a lovely evening of awards for poetry and for children's fiction. The winning poems are read out, and the winning and shortlisted children's books are set out on display. Walker Books did very well this year, carrying off several prizes.A very likeable trio turned up from their group and how young they all seemed! (How old I must have seemed...)

I met Frances Thompson who was the second prize winner. C J Allen, who won 1st, did not come - shame as I was intrigued to see who he was ( I think he's a 'he') as he seems to win a great number of prizes in poetry competitions.
The prizes were presented by Jane Draycott who was very embarrassed as she mispronounced my surname. I forgave her, of course!

I like the fact that I'm standing in front of a banner that says "at the forefront of English" though you can scarcely see it in the pic, but I know it's there -that's exactly where poetry should be: the late Josephine Hart wrote that poets are "the gods of language".
I don't feel much like a "god" but I do know that poetry is a gift and a very special one, and that it is never easy to write a really good poem. Brevity is very deceptive!

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