Monthly Archives: November 2014

Don’t Worry, Be Appy

Performing at Embrace Arts, 26 Nov 2014. Photo by Adrian Cretu

Performing at Embrace Arts, 26 Nov 2014. Photo by Adrian Cretu

Yesterday saw the launch of two apps featuring Leicestershire writers – resulting from writing commissioned for the Sole2Soul and Affective Digital Histories projects respectively. I was commissioned to contribute writing to both projects, so I made an effort to get to the launch of both events, as it was fantastic to see the culmination of alot of hard-work by alot of talented people: creative, academic, technical.

Falkners Exhibit, Market Harborough - photograph copyright Kev Ryan

Falkners Exhibit, Market Harborough – photograph copyright Kev Ryan

[Sole2Soul: ‘wise souls talk to teen souls about shoe soles’]

The first took place at Market Harborough Library. A good crowd of ‘Silver Champions’, (project participants aged over 55) commissioned writers, public, professionals, and well-wishers gathered. Dr Corinne Fowler, from the Centre for New Writing, introduced the event, alongside her University of Leicester colleagues, Dr Ming Lim, Dr Ruth Page, plus LCC library & museums staff and willing assistants. Sole2Soul encouraged writing inspired by Harborough’s Boot and Shoe Heritage, specifically Falkner’s – a long-running family firm in the town. An exhibition in the museum recreates the shoe-shop in loving detail. This fascinating display provided great inspiration for the writers, professional and non-professional alike. My mother worked for Churchs shoes in Northampton, and so I felt an affinity with the theme. I wrote a long poem called ‘Well Heeled’ (see Poetry page on this blog). The event was divided into three spaces – Commissions (performances), Narrate (examples of other writing and photographs), and Curate (where ipads were available to view the Falkners app). At 15 minute intervals a ‘bell’ sounded and we were ushered to the next space. This gave a good overview of the project (and a flavour of the umbrella LCC museums project, ‘Click, Connect, Curate’). It was good to connect with fellow writers, and to talk about what it meant to the Silver Champions and general public. A definite success.

Soul of the City: Affective Digital History Carol Leeming, Kevan Manwaring & Alberto - LCB Depot, 27 Nov' 14

Soul of the City: Affective Digital History
Carol Leeming, Kevan Manwaring & Alberto – LCB Depot, 27 Nov’ 14

Afterwards, I dashed back to Leicester, for the Affective Digital Histories launch at the LCB Depot. Although it was advertised to start at 6.30pm, I arrived there (at 6.35pm) just as local legend Carol Leeming finished the performance of her fabulous choreo-poem, ‘Love the Life you Live, Live the Life you Love’! For some reason everything had started alot earlier, which was a bit disappointing. Still, it was a great atmosphere, and I had some great chats with my fellow writers and the App team. A short film was premiered, providing an excellent introduction to the project. Then DJs picked up the vibe, and eventually got us dancing. It felt satisfying to celebrate the success o this fantastic project with those involved – it truly was a team effort. I was tickled pink to see my Marginalia piece viewable on the smartly-designed App. Afterwards, we repaired to Manhattans over the road to celebrate the project and Carol’s birthday – two great reasons for a drink!

Kevan Manwaring (left) and Adrian Cretu (right) at Embrace Arts, Leicester, photography by Caroline Rowland, 26 November 2014

Poets in the City: Kevan Manwaring (left) and Adrian Cretu (right) at Embrace Arts, Leicester, photography by Caroline Rowland, 26 November 2014

On Wednesday (26th November) I performed a 30 minute set of poems and stories in Embrace Arts, on the University of Leicester campus, alongside by Romanian buddy, Adrian Cretu, and a Leicester poet, Liz Gray. This was part of the Twilight Sessions arrange by Caroline Rowlands – a series of fortnightly spoken word and music showcases. I started with a couple of old favourites (‘Ignition’ and ‘Wolf in the City’) before trying out some new material, inspired by my trip ‘North of the Wall’ this summer. I finished my set with a performance of the folk tale, ‘The Grey Lady of Delapre’. Adrian followed with a set of his translated poems evoking the dark soul of the city. Liz Gray concluded with her repertoire of memorized poems celebrating the local. The audience was small but appreciative – as this was only the second Twilight session no doubt it’ll take a while to build, but I wish Caroline and Embrace every success with the venture – a great platform for new work. And all free!

Out of this World

Last night went to see Interstellar with some friends and here are my impressions…

The Great Day of His Wrath - John Martin, c 1853

The Great Day of His Wrath – John Martin, c 1853

Interstellar is a refreshingly high-concept SF movie, which stands out in a multiplexverse of superhero fan-boy franchises, glorified pester power merchandising adverts, and teen-screen-tested twaddle. The Nolan brothers pay homage to (or plagiarize) Clarke and Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, with their evolutionary space epic: the shuttle docking with the spinning space station, the monolith-like droids, the classical/neo-classical music, the blowing of the air-lock, the psychedelic star-gate sequences, the paradigm clash of ultra-high tech and low-tech (though in Interstellar its red-neck farmers struggling to survive on a dying Earth, rather than apes at the dawn of time, but whether its in a Dustbowl America, or on a savagely elemental world the aesthetic contrast is the same). The pulsating, hypnotic soundtrack by Hans Zimmer re-enforces this register, driving our emotions – like some massive sonic booster rocket. In the auditorium we cannot escape its event horizon, but are swept along. Even if we don’t know what it all means, it’s one helluva ride. You leave the cinema blown away – and this lingering effect (the immersive experience Kubrick sought to create in 2001) compensates for the potential plot-holes and ambiguous message. The film is visually stunning and the spectre of late Romantic painter John Martin and the Apocalyptic Sublime looms large. Many of the vistas – of vertiginous wave-worlds, ice-worlds, light-eating worm-holes, and even Steinbeckian dust-storms of the Mid-West – echo his oeuvre. As in Martin’s paintings, Nolan loves to bend space back upon itself. The Moebius-Loop like plot is visually represented by the Escher-esque visuals, especially the Fifth Dimensional Bookcase sequence. Nobody does this better than Nolan – from the fragmented nightmare of Memento, to the prestidigitation of The Prestige, and the multi-layered dreamscape of Inception, his films are like Chinese puzzles. Exquisitely-crafted and stylishly accomplished like a neat conjuring trick, they draw the eye and bend the mind. The effect is often puzzling, but I wonder if this is what Nolan intends – wanting the effect of a Buddhist koan. His films often present paradoxes – the causality loops back upon itself and we’re left wondering if it all adds up, or if there are chinks in the logic. Interstellar seems to present mixed messages – one saying how the Earth is dying due to man’s hubris and greed (an ecological message), but then this Green agenda seems to be critiqued – with the unlikely underdog of NASA forced to go ‘underground’, and mankind’s trek to the stars hamstrung by lack of funding and vision. The film tells us the Earth is banjaxed, and we need to go out there and find another one (‘The end of the Earth will not be the end of us’ is one tagline). The film, a tribute to the intrepid early astronauts (and the pioneering spirit of Americy), seeks to reboot the space race. It could be an advert for Virgin Galactic – their first inflight movie perhaps, though I doubt they’d be time to watch it, as it’s long – unless the Virgin spacecraft falls down a time-distorting wormhole. McConnaughey’s Cooper plays an Oisin-like character, voyaging to a special world and then returning out of synch with his loved ones. I wonder if he’s been replaced by a Fifth-Dimensional being who can act, because since his last couple of films he’s turned from ‘Mr-Annoyingly-Handsome-and-Smug’ to someone who can turn in a decent performance, as he does here – the emotional anchor of the film, our Odysseus-like Everyman, trying to get back to his Ithaca – supported by a stellar cast of fellow Oscar winners, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and the compulsory Nolan stalwart Michael Caine. Apart from an affecting speech about love being a transdimensional force, most of the script is larded with pseudo-scientific exposition, with gnomic utterances about ‘gentle singularities’ and the like – the kind of thing you wouldn’t get in a deadpan Kubrick film which hasn’t had to kowtow to baffled test audiences. It feels like stuff has been shoe-horned in to stop us getting completely lost – but results in corny scenes where scientists explain quantum theory to each other. And yet there are moments of pure emotion, as when Cooper watches 23 years of video messages from his rapidly ageing children; or his initial departure from the family home, which provides the emotional thrust for the film’s ‘lift-off’. The gritty beginning gives way to a chilly, silent space-faring section, before things heat-up again in the planet-hopping section. Matt Damon’s Dr Mann plays an unconvincing antagonist – a rather bland General Kurtz at the heart of this darkness. For someone who is meant to be the ‘best of them’, he ends up making some pretty dumb moves, resulting in a gripping Gravity-like sequence – stunning, but pretty pointless. It felt like Mann was merely serving the plot, not being true to his character. Similarly, Caine’s noble professor of physics ends up being a bit of a Wizard of Oz, without much rationale. Ultimately, the film’s vaulting ambition perhaps is scuppered by these character black-holes and the need to provide crowd-pleasing pay-offs. So, as with a black hole, one might not be able to glimpse the point of it all – but the trip down its gravity well is still enthralling.

Scribbling in the Margins – Writing Marginalia

***This exciting project culminates in the launch of the App on 27th November. Here is a piece describing the evolution of my commission***

When I first read the brief I must admit my eyes glazed over. Recreating De-Industrialsed Places? What could be further from my field of interest? But then the stubborn streak which makes me a highly-motivated writer kicked in. Two principles of mine rang out: I am a writer and I can write about anything. And, wherever you live is interesting. Then I re-read the brief and I realized (sound of penny dropping) that it did intersect with my own interest in psychogeography and narratives of place. I had just completed two collections of folk tales, recording obscure stories of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, and that illustrated to me that there are treasures everywhere waiting to be unearthed. They are not just in picturesque villages. I was all too aware of that, having grown up in a depressingly de-industrial Northampton (where I was to write my first novel, inspired by my research into the history of the town). I had taught myself the history of where I grew up because I wanted to know why it was like the way it was. Its architecture, its town-planning, its genius loci, had a very real impact on me, growing up, as it still does on all who live there. Phenomenologically, it influences quality of life on a daily basis. It’s the Affect, stupid.

There was something about Leicester’s red-brick factories that reminded me of my ‘dirty old town’ – so that, in itself, was a way in.

I can’t recall when or how I first alighted upon the idea of exploring the graffiti-culture of the Cultural Quarter, aka St George’s. It probably happened, like a lot of my ideas, in the white heat of a black coffee-high, in the snow-storm of my daily online work. I probably read the brief while scanning emails in a coffee-break. I must have let it digest while I munched on a chocolate digestive and then, ping, like a microwave ready-meal, there it was. I would write about marginalized voices – graffiti artists – those who ‘write in the margins’ of our urban landscapes, below the radar of the commerce-mainstream, out of sight of the CCTV cameras.I quickly wrote the proposal, while the fire in the head was with me, and fired it off.

It got commissioned. So all I had to do was write the thing. Gulp. But, trusting in the powers of research, all things are possible (or writable), I set to work.

Initial field-research went thus: I simply walked around St George’s with my eyes and ears open, oblivious to its history, avoiding any apps or maps, or guidebooks. Next, I went round it again listening to the excellent St George’s app. This revealed to me many things I hadn’t noticed – and re-framed the ones I had. Then I walked around some more until the walls began to speak. I pressed my head to the brick and ink oozed out…

I followed this up with a visit to the Leicester Mercury archives. Housed in the University’sRaiders of the Lost Ark-like special storage warehouse, they would prove invaluable. I was helped enormously by Simon Dixon, Digital Humanities and Special Collections Manager, who quickly located the relevant files amid the acres of musty shelving. I scanned the clippings about the city’s graffiti subculture, noting how its reporting turned from depicting it as a ‘problem’ to a source of local ‘pride.’ To bring it up to date, I visited Izzie, the proprietor of HQ – the fab Graffiti ‘centre’ on Charles Street. She told me of ‘official sites’ and sent me links of some recent photographs.

Armed with a whole wadge of notes, photographs and photocopies I retreated to my bat-cave to turn the chaos into some kind of sense. I came up with a framing narrative that pushed the boundaries of the creative and critical modes of writing. This was ‘historicalnarrative non-fiction’ after all, so I felt behoven to tell a story. And that is what I set out to do – placing myself in the picture, as the wide-eyed researcher exploring the zone with the help of a ‘Trickster’ guide figure, in the form of Elephant Head, a Ganesha-esque skateboarding graffiti-artist … and that’s when the fun really began.

Originally published here:

http://affectivedigitalhistories.org.uk/blog/2014/11/scribbling-in-the-margins–writing-marginalia

Hedd Wyn and the Bardic Chair of Hawkwood

The Bardic Chair of Hawkwood - an original Eisteddfod Chair from 1882

The Bardic Chair of Hawkwood – an original Eisteddfod Chair from 1882

Hedd Wyn & The Bardic Chair at Hawkwood 9 November 2014

 A review by Katie Lloyd-Nunn

Kevan Manwaring, Cotswold Word Centre volunteer co-ordinator and former Bard of Bath (1998-1999), introduced the evening. His intention in organizing the event was to honour Remembrance Sunday and to generate interest in the new competition for the Bard of Hawkwood. This was launched at Hawkwood Open Day on Monday 5 May 2014 and this evening is almost exactly half way through the year which will culminate in the competition and adjudication on Monday 4 May 2015 at Hawkwood Open Day. The theme of the competition is FLOOD and competitors must be “within a day’s walk of the Chair” i.e. and inhabitant of GL5 or GL6 postcode, as winning the Chair includes responsibilities related to the Chair and its location in GL6 at Hawkwood. Each applicant is to perform an original poem, song or story of less than 10 minutes duration.

Richard Maisey, Holder of the Bardic Chair, talked about the Chair, saying how it has been in his family in South Wales near Neath for a long time. The plaque reads Eisteddfod Denbighshire 1882, but no name is assigned (as no Chair was awarded that year). It’s tremendous that now this unclaimed Chair will have the opportunity to be won by a local talented wordsmith.

Kevan explained how the current revival of Bardic Chairs came about. The eccentric antiquarian Edward Williams (Iolo Morgannwg) ‘found’ a list of 30 English Chairs, several of which have now been revived including Bath, Exeter and Glastonbury thanks chiefly to the vision and initiative of the late Tim Sebastian, who started the Bath Eisteddfod in 1996. New Chairs are being created, eg Northampton. What is a Bard? The Bard kept remembrances and genealogy of the tribe and shared stories of wooing, wedding and funerals. They were not Druids, though.

[Katie adds: In 1998 I met Donald McDonald, the Bard of South Uist. He wrote poems about all sorts of events, between thatching his own roof aged late 70s, including Camilla’s marriage to Prince Charles. It was huge privilege to meet him!]

A Laureate is appointed by the Queen and has officialdom attached to him/her. In contrast Bard is elected by their community, and needs to able to perform and connect to an audience, not to be just a “page poet”, e.g. performance poet, singer, storyteller.

The Cotswold Word Centre honours all the word activities in the local area.

The Chair, as its living symbol, will foster community arts engagement. It will support local creativity as each Bard represents a particular locality.

We then watched Hedd Wyn film, a 1992 Welsh-language film. Its title is taken from the bardic name of Ellis Humphrey Evans, who won the Bardic Chair of Birkenhead of 1917 posthumously, having being killed at the Battle of Passchendaele. ‘Hedd Wyn’ means ‘Blessed Peace’.

(see separate notes)

 13. Hedd Wyn

After the film, John Xavian, Bard of May Hill spoke:

“I am a Celt and this film upheld all the Bardic Traditions and we need to look ahead and get working on it [the 2015 competition for the Bard of Hawkwood] now! We want to see young people writing. We need to get into the schools. Spread the word from this gathering! We needpeople to respond. This is a live heritage. Everyone is capable of creation. Like painting, we can write with the Pen – we have the English Language full of shades and colours, tones, depth. Artistic creation is within everyone. Recognise what’s in your heart. People need galvanizing. By freeing the Spirit in each of us, the stupidity of war can be challenged. When the Spirit is bound, the Human is led by aggressive acquisition and short-term gain. Let us remember that music and art meet in poetry.

We want to see a Bard at Hawkwood and we want to see people who want to be the Bard at Hawkwood. The Chair is the symbol for the Spirit unbound in creativity.

Kevan added the tragedy in this film was the silencing of all the voices. The Ellis chair is known as the Black Chair and the 1917 Birkenhead festival is now referred to as “Eisteddfod y Gadair Ddu” (“The Eisteddfod of the Black Chair”). A powerful symbol of all those silenced voices. Winston Churchill was asked about cutting arts budget and he said: ‘Then what are we fighting for?’

Josie Felce: It was an honour to work for 20 years in the peninsulas of Wales; to help to stimulate people who are not used to expressing themselves is inspiring. The Bard has the job of inspiring others for one year. There should be performance skills offered.

Kevan: Anyone can perform at the contest at Open Day on Monday 4 May 2015, they don’t have to compete. They will still be part of the ‘Gorsedd’ (the Circle for all those who wish to be involved in supporting the Chair).

Ways to hone performance skills:

Last Friday of the month – Black Books Café Story Supper (next 28 Nov).

Green Words – 10 week Tuesday evening writing course at Hawkwood, starting in January.

Late January – Inklings of Spring Bardic Showcase, an ideal way to savour the “Awen” spirit of inspiration.

Bardic Boot Camp – 28 March, 2015.

Further reflections on the film by Richard Maisey: In the Valleys if you went into the non-conformist chapel, it was to sing. Fewer chapels and no singing now, so singing at Rugby matches is no good – has no “Hywll” no heart / soul / heat/ passion. I wonder if the wood of this chair might have some resonance? Has it soaked up some of those voices?

****The Bardic Chair of Hawkwood is going to Malvern Writers Circle to be blessed by Gillian Clarke, national poet of Wales.****

£44.50 was raised for the Peace Pledge Union from donations.

HEDD WYN – THE FILM

It was the Best Foreign Language Film in 1992 (in Welsh with English subltitles). Also won several BAFTA Wales awards.

Kevan chose to show this film on 9 November on Remembrance Sunday

  1. Set at the beginning of WWI. Ellis Humphrey Evans entered the Eisteddfod under the nom de plume Fleur de Lys. We are showing this film to honour those who have been impacted by war in whatever way.
  1. Also, it’s about a Bard. It’s one of the things that made me [Kevan] want to be a Bard. It’s not just about the Celts ~ it’s about what we do now to celebrate being alive.

Katie’s review:

It is a relatively simple story of a young man wedded to his Muse who sadly dies in action in the early months of WWI. Driven by his need to write and leading a relatively undemanding farming life, Ellis Humphrey Evans is shown writing in the landscape and getting help from a more educated friend in polishing his work for submission to local Eisteddfod competitions. His poems evoke the beauty of his native land and are infused with unspecified feeling, perhaps hinting at and matched by the sensuality of the Welsh landscape and his own susceptibility to the charms of womankind.

The pace of the film is unhurried and could possibly do with cutting by 20 minutes or so – I didn’t feel the relationship with older woman Lizzie really added to the plot. The disturbing reality of the War gradually oozes into the life of Ellis and his family in parallel with his growing ambition to win the national Eisteddfod. As Kevan says, “The film illustrates the complexity, the forces bearing down on the individuals and the community portrayed.” The anguish and confusion of the mother is well portrayed and echoed by the new young school teacher who urges Ellis to write about this, saying,” Ellis we are all affected by this war.”

The camera plays upon actor Huw Garmon’s handsome sensitive features, his beauty enhanced by the fact that most of the other Welsh-speaking actors seemed to have unusually wobbly Celtic faces.

After months of inertia and avoidance, despite a visit by a War Office official, he is finally brought before a tribunal and deemed fit for war. His tendency towards being a bit of a slacker (according to younger brother Bob) and womanizer is now redeemed by his set-jawed decision to go to war instead of 18 year-old Bob in an act of maturity and honour.

He is then flung into the violent, de-humanising war machine yet still manages to make friends with his fellow Welsh tommies, write letters home and to submit his poem Armageddon to the Bardic competition.

His fatal injury occurs fairly early in the film and the clever use of flashbacks brings a subtle poignancy to the narrative. The staging and direction is beautifully done and though grueling is never gross. The mystical Celtic soul shines through in the lush green landscape and full flowing rivers paralleled by the occasional appearance of a shadowy figure representing love, conscience, Nature or perhaps Arianrhod the once-virginal moon goddess whose boat carried the dead into the afterlife.

Is there Peace?

The Arch-Druids calls out “A oes Heddwch” - Is there Peace?

The Arch-Druids calls out “A oes Heddwch” – Is there Peace?

As we commemorate the centenary of the First World War there is a hyper-abundance of media-attention and a plethora of TV dramas, documentaries, plays, albums, shows, and so forth, flogging a dead war horse… One could be forgiven for a certain fatigue – and we’ve got four more years of it to go! Yet there are some stories that break open the heart.

An especially resonant one for me is that of Hedd Wyn.

hedd-wynn

‘Hedd Wyn’ was the bardic name of Ellis Humphreys Evans, a Welsh farmer-poet, who won the 1917 Bardic Chair of Birkenhead posthumously (a prize given in an Eisteddfod, the original ‘Game of Thrones’ if you will). Having had some success in previous eisteddfodau (but not the National Welsh one – the most prestigious) Ellis enlisted, having resisted the Call Up for three years. He was not opposed to War, he said, but didn’t relish the thought of killing a man. Because his parents had four sons of age, it was decided by the War Office that one of them must be sent to the Front. Although Ellis, the eldest, did not want to go, he couldn’t bear his younger brother going in his stead. Ellis felt it his duty, as big brother, to step up. Tragically, he was slain in action, but not before he had submitted a long poem to the National Eisteddfod. Fortunately the censors let it pass (though it was initially suspected of being written in code and revealing sensitive information – in fact it was a cri-de-coeur against the inhumanity of all war). The adjudicators decided that it was the best poem, and awarded the Chair – a beautiful carved ‘throne’, to the poet known only under his pseudonym, ‘Hedd Wyn’. He was killed in action before he was able to claim his Chair, but it was awarded post-humously in his honour and became known as the Black Chair.

In 1992 a moving film was released of his story – Hedd Wyn — and it went on to be Oscar-nominated for the Best Foreign-language Drama (it is in Welsh, with English subtitles), as well as winning a BAFTA for Best Picture, and a string of other awards.

Hedd Wyn film poster

Last night, a special Remembrance Sunday screening was held at Hawkwood College, Gloucestershire. The Bardic Chair of Hawkwood was present – an original Eisteddfod Chair from the 1882 contest in Denbighshire. This has been in the family of Richard Maisey for decades, and he has kindly lent it to Hawkwood for the contest, which is to be held at the Open Day, May Day Bank Holiday Monday 2015. The theme is ‘Flood’ and any original poem, song or story by a GL5 or GL6 resident is eligible. Richard said a few words about the Chair, and I introduced the film. Afterwards we had a discussion about some of the issues raised by the heart-rending drama. Considering the countless voices that were silenced by the vast tragedy of the Great War – all those who didn’t make it back from the Trenches, or were injured beyond repair mentally or physically – it was felt that our opportunity to express ourselves creatively is a ‘sacred gift’ that shouldn’t be squandered. Many good men and women have died so we can have that freedom. Peace always comes at a price – and this time of Remembrance is a poignant moment to reflect upon that. To pray for peace. Watching Hedd Wyn I once again felt how could we possibly have let this happen again? Such an exercise in futility as the ‘War to End All Wars’ was, the obscenity of war should not be allowed by civilized people to ever happen again – and yet it has, again and again. By telling these true stories I hope we can make people say No! to all acts of aggression, to the Arms Trade, and the whole industry of aggrandizing War and those who fight in it. Violence is never the solution. There is always another way.

And if we forsake our creativity in the face of conflict then we have forsaken our humanity.

y-gadair-ddu

Observe the 2 minutes’ silence at the anniversary of the Armistice, 11th November, 11am GMT, and remember all victims of war. Make a donation to the Peace Pledge Union to support the ongoing campaign for peace.

A Praise Song for Albion

In 2004 I was commissioned to write a choreo-poem by the artist Beth Townley. The actual performance didn’t take place, but the poem ‘Dragon Dance’ was completed. Here is a youtube clip of me performing it from memory. It is in five main sections – each section honouring one of the corners of the British Isles and Ireland: Logres (England); Kernow (Cornwall); Erin (Ireland); Alba (Scotland); Cambria (Wales). This is not to see them as political units, and nothing of that sort is implied by their association here. I see them as geological facts – ‘a small clusters rocks brought together by fate’, and by celebrating their differences, I hope to encourage a holistic vision of their shared journey. In short, Unity. I have attempted to honour the genius loci – the spirit of place – as she manifests in each part of these remarkable islands. Over the last few years I have started to perform it in each part of the land – in the Fens, in Cornwall, in Wales, in Scotland…(Erin next!) I have found it very powerful to recite in situ. It is my way of giving something back, of saying thank you to that place for its inspiration, ancient monuments, stored ancestral wisdom and legacy. It has been performed en masse at the World Heritage Site of Stonehenge as a liturgy by the Cotswold Pagan Society during a private access ceremony – a proud moment! If the poem inspires you to visit the locations mentioned, do let me know. I’ll be delighted.