I always feel a bit odd about putting my copyright on a photo like this. I DID take the photograph this morning so in that sense itís mine. I did not, though, make this carved stone, nor did I write the words carved on it. Iím not sure who carved it but I know the words are lines from a poem written by someone called Caroline Carver, who, in my very un-artistic world has never crossed my radar before. I now know, through the wonders of the G-word, that she won the National Poetry Prize in 1998 and has a certain amount in common with yours truly in as much as she lives in Cornwall with her husband, dog and four hens, although the similarities end there as I am no artist as Iím sure is completely apparent to everyone who reads this.
Poetry is something Iíve always considered really inaccessible other than poetry of the Pam Ayres type but my opinions have changed recently since it has become something of a tradition in the Mingay household to spend the early-ish part of Saturday morning in bed with the Reverend. We have held this tradition since long before we shared the morning with a vicar. In fact, we used to share our bed on Saturday morning with John Peel most weeks! Oh, sorry, the Rev. Richard Coles Ė heís the presenter of Radio 4ís Saturday Live. He often has a poet in the studio writing poems about the topics covered on the show. I am always thrilled by the poems and amazed at the apparent ease the poets display in thinking up pithy, witty, ditties about the subjects. They frequently make me smile and always gain admiration. Actually, thinking about it, Iíve not heard a poet on the show for ages now so perhaps they are not on it any moreÖ
Anyway, they did something for my world in as much as I even did the G-word on several of them to find out whether you could buy their works and came to a very unsatisfactory conclusion that even though the programme makes their poems accessible to the likes of a philistine like me, they are still hard to access any other way.
In any event, my opinion of the art-form has undergone a transformation and so when I saw this for the first time this morning I liked it so much I photographed it. Anyone who has seen this "in the flesh" will know I cut off the bottom of the stone which credits some old duffer (no wordsmith - a foot-in-the-mouth-smith) with opening the building - a fact that not all UoP students feel proud of believe me. Sadly I have not found the whole poem online anywhere and it may even be a special commission, which I see from her website is something she does. So, my thirst for this particular bit of knowledge comes to an end with these lines.
Iíve decided itís admiration for wordsmiths in any form thatís driving me towards poetry in recent times. Iíve not been anywhere near them (other than seeing Pam Ayres at the Du Maurier Festival in Fowey a few years back) since I ran in the opposite direction kicking and screaming in my school days. The wordsmiths can be poets, songwriters, novellists or writers of non-fiction prose. I donít care as long as they are GOOD at it. Maybe Iíll have a theme of my favourite wordsmiths when I hit a lean patch in this blog. Now thereís an ideaÖ