NaPoWriMo 22: Generic Blessings

Temple Newsam House, with its blessing around the roof-line

Temple Newsam House, with its blessing around the roof-line

Catching up with some NaPoWriMo prompts: determined to have at least 30 by the end of the month – TOMORROW!

So here’s one from earlier in the month – there might be more of it to come, but thought I’d put it up as work in progress.

This one’s based on the blessing which runs around the top of Temple Newsam House, just outside Leeds. The idea was to create some ‘Genre Blessings’ (hence the title) for the Hyde Park Picture House event on Sunday – as an alternative blessing – but I couldn’t come up with more than two!

So the poem is the original blessing from the top of the house, with two other genres represented: horror and period drama. Perhaps I’ll add a sci-fi and western at some point…Perhaps…

 

ALL GLORY

or, Generic Blessings

 

ALL GLORY BE GIVEN

TO GOD, THE FATHER, HIS SON

AND THE HOLY GHOST ON HIGH.

PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARDS MEN.

HONOUR TRUE ALLEGIENCE TO OUR GRACIOUS KING.

LOVING AFFECTION AMONGST HIS SUBJECTS.

HEALTH AND PLENTY WITHIN THIS HOUSE.

 

ALL GORY BE RIVEN

BY GHOULS, THE FANGED, ROSEMARY’S BABY

AND THE GHOSTS IN THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE.

FEAR ON EARTH AND GOOD KILLS AMONG MEN.

HONOUR GRIM ALLEGIENCE TO STEPHEN KING.

ROVING STARVATION AMONGST ZOMBIES.

STEALTHY DEPRAVITY IN EACH DESERTED SHACK.

 

ALL CORSETS BE FASTENED

BY GIRLS, STRICT FATHERS, THEIR SONS

AND THE GHOST OF THE ONES THEY SHOULD MARRY.

GENTLE MIRTH AND GOOD SUITS UPON MEN.

HONOUR THE NOVEL BUT ADD SOME THINGS IN.

STIFLED AFFECTION: AS LEWD AS IT GETS.

EMBROIDERY AND MOANING, IN EACH STATELY HOME.

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NaPoWriMo 21: White Violin or, Lord Raby’s Massive Silver Wine Cooler

Lord Raby’s Massive Silver Wine Cooler – as so described on the signs in Temple Newsam House!

Filling in an earlier gap from NaPoWriMo: I started writing this a while back based on a trip to Temple Newsam House, just outside Leeds. It’s an amazing house – no doubt about it – and it’s great that it’s now in public ownership, with gorgeous grounds to walk or cycle round.

While I was there, there was a concert of Early Music – a series of concerts, in fact – and I sat down to listen to some violin music and then got chatting with the musician (Gina Le Faux, about whom you can find out more here) about her violin (which you can hear in the SoundCloud widget above!).

And that conversation informed the following poem, which I’ve only just finished – and still needs tinkering. But the central idea was this: what do we preserve and what do we dispose of? And, more vitally, who do we preserve and who do we forget?

While it’s a great thing that the house is in public ownership, it also made me wonder why we are still so fixated on the aristocracy of old: I wonder what the people of future centuries will look upon as ‘worth preserving’ – for that preservation starts now.

Oh and ‘Lord Raby’s Massive Silver Wine Cooler’ (pictured above) was called just that on the signs in the House. There was something undeniably impressive about it. And a little bit ridiculous. And more than a little smug. (Oh – we own it now, too, by the way).

Anyway, here’s the poem:

 

White Violin

or, Lord Raby’s Massive Silver Wine Cooler (at Temple Newsam House)

 

Sat, courtly, beneath the gleaming shadow of

Lord Raby’s Massive Silver Wine Cooler

the early music begins: notes overflow

from a Thomas Tilley (Real) violin.

 

(To me, just a violin, but

as I chat with the musician

about the instrument she’d played

we strip away its ancestry,

how this violin was made:

 

Picked up from a dealer, who noted

that it actually dates back to 1776;

an uncouth previous owner had coated

it in Vegas-white emulsion Dulux.)

 

In each room, a day-tripper to aristocracy,

I strip back the varnished gentility. Imagine

what the laminated guide would be for

mine, or any other family. What would we

retain of our ignoble genealogy? Will our IKEA

wallpaper, our B&Q garden furniture,

draw in paying crowds to see?

 

The centrepiece of my 70s-built living room

was the Orange Plastic Pernod Ice Bucket.

That, Lord Raby, was our bulbous,

spirited, pop-heirloom; or

as close to one as we’d get.

 

The historic wallpaper’s birds may be pretty

but their songs – territorial, shrill – are rotten:

silver families are laminated, remembered;

Dulux families are all but forgotten.