So, we began the week with 'No make-up selfie' by Niamh Hill, a poem which which touches on my own experience in as much as, five years ago today, my mother was celebrating her birthday in hospital where she had recently undergone at very short notice a full mastectomy. It was a traumatic time for her and we all feared for her safety, After all, at such an age, any major surgery carries a significant risk. What perhaps we didn't appreciate, at least until after the operation, was how difficult it would be for her to come to terms with her altered body. Tragically, too, my father died suddenly only a few weeks later. For my mother, after sixty years of marriage it was a testing year.
Then, a year later, I lost my best friend who, for ten years, had battled against breast cancer having been first diagnosed in her very early thirties. As I re-read Niamh's poem, I asked myself what she would have made of this business. I suspect that she would have tossed her head and said that she was sorry but there really was no comparison to be made between posting photographs of one's naked face and exposing the true face of this illness. My friend was beautiful and always full of life, even when she was dying. It became a point of honour to her always to look her very best.
Tuesday's poem was Melinda Rizzo's 'Kitchen Art', a delightfully visual response to the story about stolen artworks found hanging on the kitchen wall of a worker in a Fiat factory. Like Melinda, 'I’d hang those masterpieces/ in my kitchen, too, if they were mine'.
On Wednesday our poem was 'David Cameron Speaks of Christian Faith in Easter Message by Sue Norton. This was a poem written in response to a development that I for one have found disturbing. I cannot help wondering whether someone has actually advised Mr Cameron that presenting himself as a kind of twenty-first century prophet is a good idea or whether he has thought it up all by himself. Either way, it's worrying. Profoundly worrying. Isn't it?
Thursday brought us to Steve Pottinger's poem 'the knock', a poem which marks not only the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Hillsborough tragedy but also the the long struggle of the families of those who lost their lives to achieve justice in the face of the intransigence of those who insisted there was no case to answer. It is to be hoped most sincerely that recent developments will help to bring those bereaved families a measure of peace.
We concluded the week with 'Ruining London', another poem by Sue Norton, this time about the the recent 'high-rise craze'.
'Greed sticks its shiny fingers up, it licks the city,
casts avaricious shadows disfiguring posterity.'
I love this ending. Thank you, Sue. Thank you, everyone. Have a good week.