Evening folks. A quick update to let those interested know about three events taking place this weekend – all on the same day! On Saturday afternoon there is an event taking place at the Wordsworth Trust – ‘Tales from the Dark Mountain’ which I’m going along to – you can find more details here on the Trust website https://wordsworth.org.uk/attend-events/2013/11/30/tales-from-the-dark-mountain.html
Afterwards, I will be dashing back home to get ready for another poetry, music and storytelling event at Bardsea Malt Kiln at 7.30pm with Ross Baxter, Alan Franks and Maz O’Connor. You can find more information here http://www.crake.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=390&Itemid=285
If you can’t make it out to Bardsea, the equally lovely Ann Wilson is hosting her regular Open Mic night at the Brewery in Kendal, with special guest Mark Mace Smith. That starts at 7.30pm and if I hadn’t already promised Ross I would go and support him, I would have been down at the Brewery with Ann!
Myra Schneider has also asked me to highlight an exciting opportunity for women poets. The Second Light Network of Women Poets have recently received Arts Concil funding to bring out a major new anthology of poetry by women poets. It will be called ‘Wings of Glass’. The book will focus on ambitious writing and be published in next autumn 2014 and launched at the Second Light Festival in central London in late November. The editors are Penelope Shuttle, Myra Schneider and Dilys Wood. Submissions will be accepted between 15th November and 15th January. Please see full details for submitting : www.secondlightlive.co.ukMyra is very keen to get as many submissions from women poets as possible – they do not want the anthology to be limited to just members of Second Light – so definitely worth having a go!
So to finish off – here is one of Ross Baxter’s ballads – which I hope he will be reading on Saturday –
THE BALLAD OF THE CORBIES AND THE JAMMY CRANES – Ross Baxter
being an account of the remarkable Battle between the Rooks and the Herons that took place in April 1775 in the Woods of Dallam Tower at Beetham.
Masters, listen, hold you still,
And hearken to me a spell;
I’ll tell you of the great battle
At Dallam Tower befell.
The year being 1775,
In April on a day,
The Herons all in the old oak grove
With their young nestlings lay;
When Daniel Wilson of Dallam Tower,
Being in want of wood,
With axe and rope he cut those oaks
And felled them where they stood.
“A grief! A grief!” cried the Heron King,
“To put us to such pain!
“Our houses spilled upon the ground
“And all our young ones slain!
“Rise up! Rise up, my bonny grey knights
“That suffer in this fall,
“To yonder copse of mighty firs,
“There to rebuild our hall.”
And then up rose those bonny herons,
A shining company;
Away they flew to the fir tree copse
Where their new home should be.
But when they came to the fir tree copse,
Their new home to survey,
A commonwealth of rooks arose
Ready to say them nay.
“Turn back! Turn back, you Heron King,
“You and your company,
“For since the world was first begun
“This is our rookery.”
“Away, you corbie squatters all,
“Away and take your flight!
“These trees are forfeit to the King
“And his court comes here tonight.”
Then up and spake those corbies bold:-
“And why should a rook bow down?
“And why should he give up his tree
“To a jammy crane in a crown?”
The Heron King called up his knights
And spake from the topmost pine:-
“These woods since time began were once
“And always will be mine.”
And at his word the Herons fell
On the Rooks without delay,
And threw them down from out of the trees
And drove them clean away.
Then the Corbie Captain rallied his troops:-
“Brave Rooks, stand fast!” said he;
“What mak of fish did that Jammy Crane eat
“That made him royalty?
“I put it to our Parliament
“That I call into this field,
“That we should fight for our common right
“To the death, ere we should yield!”
Then the Corbies they arose
And put their armour on,
Their faces pale, their cloaks were black,
And their blue steel bonnets shone.
The Herons stood with their gleaming spears
In a circle like the sun;
Down the Corbies fell on them
And attacked them ten to one.
Out of the sky the Corbies flew
Plummeting thick as rain,
And for every one the Herons slew
Nine more came on again.
All through the woods the battle raged
And all across the sky,
Till blood and feathers covered the ground,
Rained down from on high.
The Corbie Captain rose and stooped
Upon the Heron King,
And threw him from his topmost perch,
Beating him with his wing.
But the Heron King raised his head
And a loud laugh laughed he;
He pierced the Corbie with his beak
And pinned him against the tree.
And when they saw their Captain slain,
The Rooks sounded retreat,
The Herons harrying at their heels
To hasten their defeat.
And they fought till they came to Wilson’s barn,
With the wood stacked against the wall,
And there they called on the old white owl
Where she keeps her house and hall.
“A judgement! A Judgement!
“Let justice end this fray!
“For Heronry or Rookery,
“One of them must away.”
Then up and spake the old white owl:-
“Room enough for all;
“The more they chop the oak wood down,
“The more the firs grow tall.”
And so indeed it came to pass,
As you may plainly see,
The Corbies and the Jammy Cranes
Nesting in one tree.
Now Masters stay your hands awhile
Before you take what’s yours;
Think on what may follow on
When time has run its course.
For the Corbies and the Jammy Cranes
That never could agree,
Now live together side by side
In the branches of one tree.