It’s National Poetry Day in England and he of the Nobel prize Desmond Tutu announces that he will step down from public engagements to make way for a new generation. Two years ago he unveiled Gilt of Cain my sculpture poem in The City of London. Incidentally national poetry day was the idea of a William Sieghart who has it seems no Wikipedia entry.
Yesterday was the final sign off for my poem for the Olympics Park. And throughout the week I am spending every available minute on a stage adaptation of Benjamin Zephaniah’s Refugee Boy. There's a read through with actors at West Yorkshire Playhouse next week. But today is national poetry day so after a morning writing I cycle to The Riverside Rooms at Southbank Centre.
Ruth Little who had just returned from the arctic for Cape Farewell was there in full post arctic bloom. As it was national poetry day and as we were catching up she shared a story about a quote of one of her favourite thinkers. I asked if I could use the quote as I would be speaking on stage in a moment. She said yes and in a short time I was on stage in the Clore Ballroom at Southbank Centre where I read an excerpt of The Ancient Mariner but first Ruth’s fine and apposite quote was spoken and had the quietening effect of Aurora Borealis.
‘In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference…Poised midway between the unvisualizable cosmic vastness of curved spacetime and dubious, shadowy flickerings of charged quanta, we human beings, more like rainbows and mirages than like raindrops or boulders, are unpredictable self-writing poems – vague, metaphorical, ambiguous, and sometimes exceedingly beautiful' – Douglas Hofstaedter