An evening of poetry with Matt Harvey and Drew Dellinger
It was no doubt the name of local poetic hero Matt Harvey that did much to draw the Totnesian crowds of over a hundred to the Methodist Church on Wednesday night, but I think we all came away with a new love in our hearts (and maybe even a bit of a crush) on U.S. poet Drew Dellinger.
Matt read from his latest collection of poems, ‘The Element in the Room’, the result of a recent residency with RegenSW which focused on our use of and relationship with modern energy. As always he had the audience in stitches with his rhymes and the escapades of ‘Element 1’ and ‘Element 2’, whilst always reminding us that there are underlying issues here. The poet took on the voices of those who argue against renewables, which whilst remaining humorous, point out that for those of us who believe that green energy is the future, there is still a battle being fought. In a more serious moment Matt read us a rare sombre poem about war, a simple and tender response to a photograph of a soldier in the trenches, saying that he felt safe with this particular audience to bring out work that he doesn’t usually get the chance to showcase.
By contrast Drew Dellinger, who is in Totnes as part of his ‘Change the Worldview, Change the World’ tour, came to the stage with fire and angels. Reading from his collection ‘Love letter to the milky way’, Drew’s address to the universe and the cosmos, we were taken on a journey through space and time and asked many times to question our dedication to the ‘cause’. In a particularly poignant poem Drew is kept up at night by his great-great-grandchildren asking ‘what did you do when you knew?’ His poetry is so preoccupied by nature and always questioning, a truly compelling set.
As part of the evening Matt asked everyone in the room to write a line for a group poem with the title ‘We can’t stop the earth’s revolution’ on a slip of paper to be put together. It was incredible to see how after an hour of being read poetry the whole audience was on the same wave-length. The end result was comprehensive and meaningful (even if custard did make several non sequitur appearances) and brought together the thoughts of the evening in a better conclusion than I think I can.
Sadly our attempts to record this evening didn't work out well - but you can find videos of Drew reading some of his poetry such as Angels and Ancestors and the Hieroglyphic Stairway, and Matt on YouTube.
Group Poem - ‘You can’t stop the earth’s revolution’
It is gathering unstoppable momentum
the sun and moon and stars wheel by in space
let the bracken burn, let the heath wreath in flame, let the wind sing.
The heroes of madness sing together in the dawn of yesterdays lost
revolution is necessary for human evolution
the waves are coming in
vegan custard is the ultimate solution.
A cosmic dance of sacred fusion
seeds for the sowing, changes are growing, adorning, transforming, evolving, revolving
if you put a spanner in the works, make sure it’s adjustable.
You can’t stop the world’s revolution
it’s time to get down and start choosin’
feeling the burn on every turn
as the giant spoon of destiny stirs the trifle of life, swirling custard of chaos and fruit of creativity…
Spinning on an axis of praxis,
the washing up sits in the sink.
A heavenly hello, the earth is your halo
and we shouldn’t stop Scottish devolution
we can’t let spin doctors unspin our revolution.
Revolt! Revolt! Treat the earth as sacred!
It twirls the lumps out of my custard
turning, burning and cheerfully churning
and the custard needs stirring and stirring and stirring.
A Review of Evolution: from ape to man to lemming
our spinning isn’t winning our revolution’s thinning
you can, however, look for a solution
meditate with fury, anticlockwise.
You can’t stop the earth’s revolution
when fire burns, when the fire burns in the waters of our soul
pouring our heart’s longing into this moment
be injected, infected, alive as intended.
And the moon blinks twice to clear its misty eye
and at the centre of all thus turning and changing lies the peace within your heart.
I will sing it to you from the bottom of this well
beware the slowing power of folly, fracking, falsehood, fear and futility.
Nothing can stop me, I say, nothing can stop me from evolving into my natural form
crank it up, oil the cogs, loosen the chains, because…
revolting custard is clagging the clogs
have we fulfilled our purpose of creation?
Hang on to your hat
you can’t stop the world’s revolution
turning it all to custard is just an illusion
it will lead to a muddle and even confusion
I believe custard to be the solution.
How to create a group poem at an event:
1 Have the facilitator invite suggestions for a Title - and choose one
2 Hand out strips of paper and pens for the audience to write their lines on that theme
3 Have 2 volunteers collect the strips, make a poem and stick them together with tape
4 Read and enjoy!!
Upcycled Poetry is also possible...
Here's a second poem, made from the discarded strips of the group effort!!
You can’t stop the earth’s revolution – Part 2
Islands of plastic revolting
the passing paradigm
It will happen without you
pause and you will feel it.
Trust for the sun has more power than you will ever know.
Let go of control, for natural ablutions
While wearing your pyjamas
The climate changes in ranges beyond comprehension
change around the world won't cease
Nor the singing of the stars
cos everything would fall off
Like Canute on the beach we each have to hope
Its on going evolution the revolution, yeah!
It's all encompassing, round and round
Headlights highlight headlines powerfully projecting into space
We spin with galaxies in Laneakia.
Silence whispers to you and she asks you to remember
that each of your breaths are not entirely your own.
Generations waking up we connect to our hearts – the deep knowledge
of the beautiful world possible – driven by the power of emotions to regenerate planet earth.
The earth revolution cannot be stopped, it's spiralling faster than a case of chicken pox.
As she turns it's your turn it's our time to try.
In a spin, loving that spin that I'm in
Alive and got a bit of a tan, I went out on a date
and why would you want to?
Occupy love, Occupy, Love All embracing, circling, circling
Left, wright, left, wright, left, wright
The sacred composting of lunatics.
The Grape's A Tart!
I wanted custard
It's a minefield
Women are the makers of mornings; well-behaved they seldom make history, yet some dare to connect the sluice-gates or reason in the heart of emotion
This dynamo animates, emanates and laminates all in lemnascates and we configure 8
Forgiving is forgiving – Conflict turns to peace – fear turns to love
I hold my breath. Tight. And effortlessly it moves again.
The movement is random, directed and unstoppable
Gravity keeps us from flying
Flowers must burst our – change the nation's imagining
This will be like no other.
I AM GOING HOME
Group poem made up of lines found after Drew Dellinger and Matt Harvey's inspiring evening of Poetry in motion.
Organised by Pulse for Inner Transition of Transition Town Totnes.