The Liverpool Poets – 8 April

View across the Mersey, LiverpoolA large audience, surely the largest we have had for some time, enjoyed listening to Bob Williams read works by the Liverpool Poets, Roger McGough, Adrian Henri and Brian Patten. Bob began by reminding us of the cultural landscape of Liverpool which had produced such figures as Beryl Bainbridge, Ken Dodd, Leon and Sidonie Goossens and the Beatles, and the Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra.

Of the three poets, Bob’s favourite is Roger McGough who was also a member of the pop/poetry trio ‘The Scaffold’ for ten years and taught French at St. Kevin’s Comprehensive School in Liverpool. The poems were well chosen to engage everyone. We could all relate to the person whose day went from ‘One Thing to Another.’ Teachers could empathise with the colleague who may have over- reacted to the chaos during ‘The Lesson,’ and with ‘A Real Live Poet’ set in front of an apathetic class by an unimaginative headmaster. On the way, we heard from a blameless ‘Bull in a China Shop’ and listened sympathetically to a frustrated wearer of ‘Contact Lenses.’ On a different level, the ‘Three Rusty Nails’ presented to a boy by a dirty, bearded beggar, who may have been Jewish or Egyptian, gave us something to ponder.

The poets’ interest in love was represented by Henri’s description of what ‘Love is,’ in which love sometimes sounded uncomfortable and by his account of ‘Galactic Love,’ set more warmly under the sunset and stars. Finally, in ‘So Many Lengths of Time’ we heard Patten’s thoughtful answers to Pablo Neruda’s question, ‘How long is a man’s life, finally?’, answers that included ‘A man lives for as long as we carry him inside us.’

Thank you, Bob, for sharing with us your appreciation of the wide range of the Liverpool Poets’ work, for our laughter and reflection on that evening.

Michael and Jenny Sandilands

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