Billesley Adventure


Today the game teachers of Billesley Primary School submitted themselves to one of our City Adventure training days. We were out on our mettle as, rather than planning orienteering activities around the City Centre we were out by the school. Pupils had colluded with us, tipping Craig off about local sites of interest and with Graeme’s help the plans were laid and the ridiculous layering of envelopes within envelopes choreographed. Anatomy of Melancholy rehearsals were cancelled for the day and we ventured out, into the fog to see who we could find.

It was cold but no rain fell, which was a blessing and as usual some teams zoomed through the tasks as if the day were an obstacle race and others savored the day and trailed back after the final task had packed up, but in between everything ran smoothly.

On this occasion it was my turn to write the summarizing poem that attempts to tell the story of the day whilst including elements of writing generated by the participants in the morning. I had forgotten how much fun they are to do. Here is today’s – it currently has no title. The rhythms are tricky, it needs to be read slowly and aloud.

It’s Thursday, when they close the schools and vote for the police.

It’s Thursday, when fog’s the colour of Land Rover mist
and landscape’s turned geometry.

It’s Ourday, when they close the schools and everyone must choose,
exposure / sensation,
And in the charity shops they murmur:
“gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous”.

It’s Thisday when in Churches miracles are re-enacted,
And blindfold pedestrians play faith games,
They’ve remade tennis,
Now Butchery’s a spectator sport
And trains run their nostalgia timetable.

It’s Mumbleday when
Bushes the colour of telephone dreams
Conceal plastic war relics from dog walker prose
And the blind sentinels decipher:
Chatter from squeak, wingflap from quack,
Van from lorry, bus from crow,
And it’s all written down,
The wind picks up and the rubbish rises in a concert hall clatter suspended.

It’s Onesday,
And the mute florist waits to confess,
Leaves fall from trees to make art on the grass.
Surrounded by knowledge
A desultory librarian hoards cava, booze on the shelves
And from the chapel doors float paper carnations.

It’s Twosday when,
In the cafes, the builders and the bankers gather,
With the crack addicts and the wanna-be showgirls,
The stinking golfer and the Sir Oliver,
A gangster places his order
heart of flasher mac black.
It’s code, it’s all code for tomorrow.

It’s Today, when all of this happened
And the world was wonderful and strange, as it sometimes always is.

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