Members from The Lichfield Poets collaborated with members of Poetry for the People to write and/or perform poems on the theme of ”Creation.” The readings took place in the upper performance area in the Lichfield Garrick Theatre to complement the performances of the Lichfield Mystery Plays.
The poems were performed in the following order and read individually, or in duos or groups by: Ben Macnair, Gary Longden, Ian Ward, Janet Jenkins, Phil Binding, Rory Payne, Sarah Dale, plus guest readers, Leanne Scoins and Simon Quinn.
Words, Ink & Sound. Rory Payne
Slippery black Ink.
Slides round the rolling ball pen
And onto the page.
Swirling whirling it writes,
Rights of men, of plans of war?
It writes of poetry and love
Of the above and more.
Gliding riding on an idea
Building up and destroying nations.
Sent out as a tool for fear.
Ink to make you think,
To make you laugh and cry
To tempt you into going awry
To save you from the brink.
Heard for generations
Created to last.
To break through the past
Fast burning into the present.
So here we present
Words Ink and sound.
Let the voices of creation be found.
As they row through the streams of
Day and into our memory.
Before The Beginning. Phil Binding
Lucifer, Gabriel and Michael were horsing around,
Chewing the fat, you know like Angels do.
Lucifer said, “So guys, what’s new?”
Gabriel said, “Funny you should ask. Look what I found!”
No-one could quite see it. Gabe’s eyes were sharp!
It looked like a tiny weensie dot,
Infinitessimally small, no more than a dot,
Michael said, “Get outa here!” and put down his harp.
“Wow!” said Lucifer. “That is amazingly small.”
“Don’t touch it,” warned Gabriel. “It belongs to God.”
“What this little thing?” said Lucifer, and gave it a prod.
They woke up much later, embedded in the wall.
Around them sparkled nebulae, stars and dust,
Gabe said, “God’s fuming Lucy, you’d best be on your way.”
Lucifer thought, “He’s right, there’s gonna be Hell to pay.
But maybe He’ll calm down after all the fuss.
Megalomaniac Jon Jack Neil
‘Let there be light!’ God declared, with fire in His heart,
And the screen sprang to life: ‘Press any key to start.’
God stared at the screen, and, with a sly grin,
He firmly pressed the space bar, ready to begin.
An alert read, ‘The universe needs twenty-four hours to boot
Before it can be mapped direct from the root.’
‘As if Heaven and Earth will take a day to install!’
God sighed. ‘Looks like I’m in this for the long haul.’
The progress bar seemed to take an eternity to fill
And remained immune to the cries of His omniscient will.
The screen declared, ‘Loading light and dark, brightness and shade.’
‘Soon enough,’ God thought, ‘it’ll be time to upgrade!’
At last, the bar filled, and the world zoomed into view.
‘No time like the present,’ God thought, ‘what else is there to do?’
So He set straight to work on His hallowed source code,
And soon enough, skies shone and water flowed.
Inputting commands left, right and centre,
He began to shape the land with every click and Enter,
And while moving the moon and the stars into place,
The grin slowly returned to the Almighty’s face.
He generated textures, and some cool, new features –
Forests and seas and a plethora of creatures,
And finally, a single race to rule the domain,
Made in His own image. (‘Is that too vain?’)
And on the seventh day, once He’d done all He could,
He took one last look, and saw it was good.
Then He saved what He had made to a Holy Hard Drive,
And prayed it would be enough to keep His world alive.
Big Bang Phil Binding
As a boy they told me the world was made in 7 days.
Of course it wasn’t. Science tells us that.
Look down any rockface and you will stare
into an abyss of time, way beyond our minds.
But that’s all maybe missing the point.
What is a day, really? An arbitrary division of time.
A discreet difference between today and yesterday,
each twirl of the world resets the clock and we start again.
But that’s just Earth days, human days.
God days are much bigger. For real creation
each day requires a long gestation, and a great span,
maybe two billion years for each. From Big Bang
to the present, they say it was 14 billion years.
A week of Gods’ time. Once the clock was started
and time began, He blew the dark apart,
set fire to stars and galaxies, made the elements.
What patience! What forward planning!
Each great Day that passed brought new wonders,
solar systems, planets and moons, and then life.
and now it’s all ticking along nicely.
And it’s only just the beginning.
Creation Story Ian Ward
On the eighth day God looked down
He saw the Yorkshireman looking straight back
He realised he’d made a mistake.
Stubborn and unyielding
Loud and proud
Knows a spade when he sees one
Always puts his tongue before his brain
Never fails to find a mouth to put a foot in.
God knew he would never make it alone
He searched the whole of creation for a creature
A creature who could guide the Yorkshireman
A creature who could survive the Yorkshireman.
That is why, to this day
Wherever you find a Yorkshireman
You will find an Angel beside him
Why she loves him, God only knows
But every day he thanks God that she does
The Eighth Day Rory Payne
VICAR: And on the eighth day the lord…
And on the eight day the lord…..
Well I’m not sure really.
GOD: On the eight day I rested,
Until I was restless.
Tried playing scrabble.
No fun on your own.
Tried having a bath.
I made a beard with the foam.
On the eight day I snoozed
Then perused my bookshelf.
Found a copy of Trainspotting,
I wouldn’t recommend it.
Then for half an hour played on the Wi Fit.
On the eigth day I tried cooking.
As a challenge I made spaghetti
All without looking,
But some landed in Birmingham
On the eight day I looked back,
Over my Holy Creation.
A spattering of life
On a desolate rock
Billions of light years alone
And through that endless curtain of black,
Life, spiritualty and infinite time
I carefully watched a man
Desperately try to scoop the last
Baked bean from a can.
On the eight day I had an idea,
Why not just loop the whole thing,
From the start to the rear?
I’ll call it a week
I rather quite like it.
I’ll make it right now,
Now where did I put that tool kit?
I hold creation in my hand Sarah Dale
A little world, a ball of clay
And anything could come of this
A man, a bowl, a tree, a gun
From life to death and back again
You need no tool to manage this
But just your brain, and just your hand
No eyes to see or ears to hear
But just your cunning human hand
This clay is me and I am clay
As all life is, all lovely things
A wood in spring, a flock of birds
From clay to dust to clay again.
How To Cook A New World (By Delius Myth) Phil Binding
Take dust from a wrecked star,
mix it with fire and hope, mould it
in your giant palms like cosmic putty
and blow in breath and spit as you knead.
Then, bombard it with iron, carbon
and ice from lonely comets.
Heat on gas nine over the sun,
spin slowly and allow to cool.
Leave for about four billion years.
Sprinkle with soft breezes and clouds,
murmuring seas and velvet hills.
Keep an eye out for movement.
If you see little people starting to appear,
spreading over the surface,
it’s time to enjoy it with a skinny latte.
Before it goes off.
Design Flaw Ian Ward
I sit here and watch them pass through,
From life to hereafter, they pass through.
I don’t know where I went wrong,
But somewhere, there was a design flaw.
I created a world of wonder,
A land of milk, honey and delight,
I told them to rejoice in their bounty.
I gave them life and a place to live,
But when they come back after,
They haven’t lived.
They spent their time
Hoping, doubting, wishing, fearing, plotting,
Their lives away.
Focusing on where they are going,
On why they are not somewhere
Else, and worse, where they have
I see nothing but people obsessed
Creation of every shade.
I meet Young Earth Creationists
Old Earth Creationists
Day Age Creationists
Intelligent Design Creationists
Big Bang and Big Crunch Theorists.
Their lives wasted, asking how and why.
There is no answer, to Life, the Universe and Everything,
Life, the Universe and Everything, is not a question,
It is a place to be, to live, to experience.
All I did was to create a place to live,
But failed to create, people who wanted to live.
The Maker Sarah Dale
I the maker,
You the made –
This shall be
Our play today.
Mine the knowledge
And the power –
Yours the sin,
The shame and blame.
I the jury and the judge
Who makes the laws
And tries your case –
Your guilt is pre-determinate.
There is no need to use your brain –
Blind faith is all I need from you,
And childlike trust and innocence –
You must not doubt nor question me.
The danger is that you may see
That we could play another way –
You the maker, I the made.
That could be our play today.
3% Ben Macnair
They say that a person,
and a Banana share 97%
of the same genetic material.
It is that 3% difference that leads to bones,
Inbuilt bullshit detectors.
and the internet.
and that the closeness between a human
and a Chimpanzee is only 2%.
We share more with fruit
than we do with the snake
that tempted Eve,
and the DNA difference that leads to
and every other accident of birth
Because if it was any bigger,
we would be Bananas,
growing on trees,
piled high in super-markets,
knowing that our fates
would lead to the satiation of hunger
in primates, that are so similar to ourselves,
that at the atomic level, only scientists
know the real difference.
Each Jon Jack Neil
Each man to his own
Each who stands alone
Each to stand his ground and make it known
That they are but simple men
Each of whom takes up his lot and makes his home
In which to hang his hat, take off his skin, and rest his bones
And each man, lying down slow
To feel the earth beneath the floor
To remain a fixture, featureless, prone
The weight of their worlds sinking into the dirt
Each of theirs a life distilled to washed out flesh tones
The sweat and sulphur left behind to coat the walls
Each man a body no longer, but wholly, truly made of soul
Each one hardened, a diamond out of coal
They know at last they are not alone
Apple Tree Days Ian Ward
Oh dear, I shall be too late
Said the White Rabbit as it passed Alice.
Good girls go to Heaven, bad girls go everywhere,
Sang the singer of the song.
One pill to wake you up, one to stay asleep,
Said the dream to the dreamer.
The truth is out there,
Said Mulder to Scully.
Every life has its days of sunshine and rain,
Every life has its share of pleasure and pain,
And every day has its Apple Day.
Day of choice, day of change,
If you’re happy and know it, clap your hands,
If you’re restless and you’re wanting, take a bite.
The truth, you couldn’t handle the truth,
Said Jack to Tom.
We can all handle the truth,
Some of us well, some of us badly.
Some would prefer us not to,
And many would agree with them.
Re-creation Janet Jenkins
She looked in the mirror constantly
making comparisons between her multiple selfies
and ”perfect” people in celeb magazines
it was vital to find a way to create
her own look for everyone to admire and emulate.
Her dreams came true on lottery win day,
with six numbers; two million pounds
to spend on perfection.
She drew up a list of treatments
and procedures and ploughed ahead:
breast enlargements, times two.
liposuction, times three.
and several small tattoos.
Each one drew her nearer to a new self,
but in every case there was a fault:
Minute differences magnified in her mind,
like the Beyonce buttocks she’d longed for
had ended up like Nanny Jean’s.
She felt the need to cover her body; hid her face
with the largest designer sunglasses she could find,
but believed it was a blip; money would help
her find the way to beauty and contentment
with the aid of selfies and a new surgeon.
A Spider’s Web Janet Jenkins
Fran awoke with a start.
Her heart was thumping.
Her stomach felt knotted.
She took a deep breath
And tried to open her eyes,
But she couldn’t.
She looked in the mirror
And there was a large cobweb
Covering her whole face.
Fran heard a voice say
‘What do you expect my love?
You’re sixty now; an old relic!’
‘Lines, warts, corns, cobwebs –
You’re going to have them all.
Get used to it!’
‘The voice was her own,
An internal voice of doom;
A pessimist’s promise.
‘Bugger this!’ she said.
She brushed the cobweb away
And screamed out loud –
‘Sixty, that’s no age at all!’
‘I’m going to relive my youth!’
‘I’m not an antique!’
She dyed her hair,
Had a few nips and tucks
And several piercings.
When she awoke each day
She checked her botoxed face
And took her H.R.T.
Fran had a real ball.
She was no longer a frump
But a real rock-chick.
She dated toy boys,
Rode on silver dream machines
And found her G spot.
From time to time
She still saw a spider’s web,
Now hanging from a biker’s neck –
Large and silver,
Resting on his massive chest.
Now she screamed with pleasure!
I Want To Make……. Phil Binding
An absolute nuisance of myself,
A life that lasts longer than the shelf,
A helluva noise out here in the street,
Somone else’s life more complete
A load of money in stocks and shares
A world free from pain and need and care,
A three-course dinner just for us two,
Everything just right for me and for you,
Love in the morning, noon and the night
A getaway doing a flit by moonlight,
Amends for the wrongs I’ve certainly done,
Hay in the bright, bold love of the sun
Beautiful music together, oh yes!
Them laugh, though its terrible nevertheless
Ready for trials that lay far ahead,
Peace with my maker after I’m dead,
It out alive from impossible odds
Sense of it all with a wink and a nod
Time for all of those good things in life,
Peace from the gun and the sword and the knife
Light of my problems, cos life is too short
Distance by midnight before I am caught
A move when it’s time to be on my way,
Breakfast at Tiffany’s to kick start my day,
Coffee and cup cakes to give us a smile
A last will and testament then go out in style
A picture of life as God once intended
Apologies to those I may have offended,
A nice cup of tea now this poem is ended!
Reality Check Jon Jack Neil
How did you get here, you ask?
Sleepyhead, we came in the car!
Nana said she’d drive us to the beach,
And now look, here we are!
Oh, where did you ‘come from’, you mean?
Why, from a seed in my mind!
You were made inside Mummy’s tummy,
That’s the truth, I think you’ll find!
Then where did I come from?
Well, your dear Nana made me!
And where did she come from?
They’re all on our family tree.
And where did they all come from?
Well, from the blood of those before.
And where did they come from?
Well, of that, no-one’s really sure.
Some say there was a gigantic bang
That made all that came to be.
Some believe it was an almighty God
Or maybe two or three!
And some think there were thousands
That made the whole universe…
What? You just ‘did a toilet’?
(Could this day trip get any worse?)
Father to Son Ian Ward
Take care when you are – out there,
It can be a dangerous world – out there,
They are a wild people – out there.
You may smile, but I know,
I’ve seen it, done it, been there.
I know you want to save them
You think, that you can fix what I can’t.
You may be alright, out there
You’re just like them, none of you listen.
But ask yourself, before it’s too late,
Do they really want to be saved?
I created their world
All they had to do, was live in it.
I gave a detailed manual,
All they had to do, was follow it.
I asked them, why change everything?
They answered why not?
I said, in a world full of fruit,
Why must you pick the apple?
I said, in a world full of wonder,
Why chose to spoil it?
They answered, we want our world,
I never turned them out of Eden,
They turned Eden into Earth,
And each bite of the apple,
Takes Eden further away
Nature’s kick -start Janet Jenkins
Today – nature kick-started my spirits;
melancholia had to wait in the wings.
The air was awash with expectation:
Cowslips coughed and Sarcococca sneezed
as mad march rainhammered on their heads
Raindrops bounced and bubbled on a murky, unkempt pond.
Shrivelled autumnal leaves clung to springtime boughs.
Bleached white birches glowed in the gloom.
Sparrows beak-butted and nibbled fat balls.
A blackbird pecked at a bruised, discarded Bramley.
A lone bee buzzed a tune as he alighted on a Celandine.
‘’Morning has broken’’ hung in the air.
Did you see the moon tonight? Ben Macnair
It hangs silently,
going through its cycles.
A rough draft,
A lump of clay, unfinished,
Did you see the moon tonight?
It lit your way,
through darkened streets,
bought the tides in to the shore,
erased the flotsam and jetsam
that washes in on every wave.
Did you see the moon tonight?
It hangs there, watching,
caring, its face as uneven and unknown
As any you can think of.
Did you see the moon tonight?
A creation myth,
Spinning in its orbit,
linked to ours, but unknown.
a rough draft, abandoned, unfinished.
Habitat Blues Janet Jenkins
Dig for your victory
over the land that gave life to nature.
Haul up the trees
with your giant yellow caterpillars.
Toss them aside, then chop and shred
their roots and chlorophyll.
Erect temporary structures
on the bare, brown earth:
blue and orange offices , turquoise portaloos.
Leave a hedge near the road, the only sign of green
where birds can sit and pause
then seek another field.
Build to a tight deadline
and before the work is done
put up a sign enticing people to come and buy
houses on de-nuded land
using names evoking love of the countryside:
Bilberry Chase, Greenwood Valley, Meadow Way…
whilst saying ”Goodbye” to the real thing.
Lord Shiva dances Sarah Dale
A snake with two heads
One at each end
In a ring of fire
Tied in a knot
Jewelled enamel coils
He drums life out of the flames
Lapping each other
Dry whisper of scales
The sea laps at her feet
Forked tongues flickering
Rearing to strike
He is thunder, she is earthquake
A sun reflected
In each sapphire eye
A seamless circle
Beginning and ending
Deadline Sarah Dale
This is a deadline
And you know what happens
When you go over a deadline –
You come to a full stop.
The end of the sentence
And the beginning
Of the next adventure
Every chemical letter
Tumbling into a new formula
All those atoms whizzing and fizzing
Into rain, mud, beetles, weeds
Your chance to be translated
To be new
To dance among mayflies
On a summer evening
to be distilled
into clear water