Saturday, 2 December 2017
I Answer A Question
Toiling uphill in the Tatra Mountains in Poland last June, my friend Richard, brother of my longest serving friend Helen, asked for advice about how to read poetry.
Breathless from exertion, I was unable to provide a succinct or relevant answer. My thinking and talking in circles at high altitude to someone for whom poetry isn't an habitual reading choice must've been the reason for my stiff and aching legs that evening.
R, H and I had spent the few days before in Krakow, and, amongst other things, completed the parkrun near to a statue of Wojtek, the soldier bear. Richard was instrumental in ensuring this tribute was installed in memory of the bear who fought alongside Polish troops in World War II https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wojtek_(bear)
Back in the UK, when I'd regained sea-level and the use of my thigh muscles, I produced a PowerPoint, and sent it to Richard by way of a belated answer to his question. Wojtek provided me with the illustration I needed to make the point that the relationship between reader and poem, in the end, is a personal one.
This weekend, walking in Wales with Helen, I was reminded of those steep Tatra climbs by my aching calves - so, we had another look at the PowerPoint. Six months on, I've worked out how to turn it into a video.
How To Read A Poem