Monday, 10 August 2009

The Battle of Verse

This is a long overdue Report of The Battle of Verse, held by the Eccentric Club on the 26th of March 2009 in the Arts Club at 40, Dover Street, Mayfair, London.

The event was advertised as a Festival of Eccentric and Witty Poetry, about a dozen and a half of various entertaining works were read, mostly by their authors, some shall be added in this blog.

Mr Adrian Brown's witty poetry and charmingly captivating performance - including his truly unique reading of the Owl and the Pussy-Cat in French! - won the unanimous vote of the Jury and the audience in his favour.

He was pronounced The Grand Master of the Knights of Verse of the Eccentric Club (eccentrically long title!) and granted an exclusive right to talk in verse to all the club members for a year.

Other contestants, much loved and enjoyed by the audience, included Colin Shaddick and Peter Golding - both gentlemen took a great deal of care in choosing their verses for the evening. Mr Golding wrote a poem on a specifically 'eccentric' subject, the transformation of yesterday's eccentricities into a modern day norm! Mr Shaddick immersed the audience into a moonlight jazz of playing with words and images, his memories and feelings. His poems were well complimented by an addition submitted by our overseas member David John Drew, whose meditational chanting-like imagery sequences put a deep shamanic spell on the audience as well as the brave volunteer to read them - the actor Steven John Bugdale, - a man well trained in the art of articulate literary performance and yet at times feeling the strength of the challenge that evening.

Mr Golding also read to the audience an excerpt from The Eccentric Drama, written by George Weguelin, a dedicated Poet Laureate of the Eccentric Society, in 1827.

Selected Poems Performed at the Battle of Verse:

Common Law

by Adrian Brown

When I was young, and dreamt of going places,
And getting to the top, and all that jazz,
They told me I must trample on the faces
Of those who cluttered up the way…….
Whereas
When I began to train to be climber,
To clamp on crampons, gird get-up-and-go,
Become a proud and pushy paradigmer –
I couldn’t find a face to step on,
So
I entertained an enterprise more novel
To use when all around are fools or rogues:
Tell them: “It’s clear that you were born to grovel,
So kindly place your bonce beneath
My brogues.”
You’ll find they’ll leap to follow this suggestion,
Obsequiously bend to your command,
Thereby discreetly easing the congestion
That blocked your progress to
The promised land.

I fear I have to charge a small commission
For this advice, your life-style to refit;
So send a handsome cheque in recognition,
And don’t forget to sign the thing,
You twit!!!!

Eccentric Is The New Normal

by Peter Golding

Eccentric is the new norm — Norm
I told ‘im now ‘es old and worn
You get so muddled these days
you need somefing else to describe your ways

Look ‘ere my dear ol battle axe
you could never shake it about to Stax
So betta ta go n stand on yer ‘ead
than be taken as one of ‘em walkin’ dead

I explained how in Britannia’s age of surrender
a kindly way to possibly mend her
Was to imagine we were still at war
and to revisit our behavioural law

Maybe ask one afternoon
would you care to see the moon
Join cat and fiddle with a cuppa tea
or take a trip to eternity

So now my hearties –behold a new window
with opportunities for ageless brothers to go
And be ourselves-the one we were hiding
but now rather like it- as we keep on finding

Wise clowns and feelers
(not many city dealers)
From all walks of life
and all kinds of strife

And characteristically — most every mile
a smile, a smile, another smile
Inside and out
whether hearty or nought

Yes- it’s easier to be an E these days
as others follow their tele’s ways
And football and celebrities all blend together
and everyone talks about the weather

So-the E word’s now the latest trend?
and soon be sold around every bend?
Available in perfumes and aftershave?
its new age music played at every rave?

Yes we’re saving the nation
with our own elation
And making brave the world
while politics are hurled

So at last now friends — whether upright or informal
The banner reads — Eccentricity is The New Normal !


I Remember Her So Well

by Colin Shaddick

Miss Westcott. I remember her so well.
I loved the way she looked. I loved her smell.
She was firm, but she was fair with us all
and when she moved through the class, I blushed.

I remember her so well. She was tall.
She dressed in a brown tweed suit, and her hair:
her hair was swept back and held by a pin.
This made her steel-grey eyes look enormous.

Her long neck grew from the vee of her blouse,
and her stockings swished as she walked about.
Her suit was nipped to emphasise her waist
and her warm-looking skirt ended below the knee.

There was a brooch pinned upon her lapel
and beneath that brooch swung a little chain.
Sometimes the light would catch a link or two
and flash out a secret message to me.

Miss Westcott. I remember her so well.
Oh, the pain of leaving our village school.
I cannot bring to mind the shoes she wore,
but now I picture her in boots of leather!

Excerpt from The Eccentric Drama (1827)

by George Weguelin

Now as we are met, by usage, here to night,
After a preposterous perilous flight,
In which I believe few histories of late
A story half so wonderful relate.
As birds of passage from bush to brier roam,
Can find no resting place till they get home ;
So we, per favour of our glorious King,
Shelter once more under his sovereign wing,
To hold our senate in our ancient hall,
Where Eccentricity extends to all.
Free brothers of the sacred order rais'd
Of noble virtues, which can ne'er be raz'd;
That love the synod of so great a name,
And glory only in Eccentric fame,
Not like the empty fop of high degree,
Who vaunts his dress or frothy pedigree :
No,no; Eccentric essence is a blazing star,
Whose powerful rays enlighten nations far
With brilliant ideas, that illume the mind,
And raise the thoughts above the vulgar kind ;
Makes genius boundless - aloft in air it flies -
Expands in space unlimited in the skies;
From world to world it roams about at pleasur e,
And then returns with eccentric treasure
Of wit, of whim, bon-mot, and jeu d'esprit,
The very soul of Eccentricity...

Paaram-Deep Kaur’s Nocturnal Visitation to Paris, or

The Miragination of the Delhic Princess.

by David John Drew

A jar
Of tumeric
Slips from a shelf
And shatters
On the kitchen floor
Of a suburban home
In Gail Drive
Salina … Kansas:

Paaram’s soul ached to sway in waves thro’ city streets,
A concave view: gazing into space, a face glazed,
And eyes swirling: enthralled by wild amazing visions;
Tense lingering dreams of life in Paris, pursued with
Rapturous desires for grand boulevards and fine-arts,
Her mind prancing gaily across strands, a shadow…
Etched to perfection, reflected in the fashionable
Glimmer’d arcadian glass of respected purveyors
In exquisite goods.
And
Delectable
Delights.

The cremated ashes of tradition forbade the yearning,
The grain of the father: constant polish, word of the Queen;
Unequivocal fortress of law, chained in the tower…
Floral damsel of air in the land of five rivers,
Smouldering
In embers and
Constantly brooding
Thoughts of
Escape.

Thus she lay, dissected and adorned in pattern’d
Whorls of intricately designed Bombay henna
Reclined fatefully in sighs on the velvet divan…
She slipped silently into unconsciousness, loosened
By the rare and illicit indulgence of cherries;
Taste of the shisha smoke pervading her sensual lips;
Sleep and sin her only exciting escape from the slavery of
Suburban mediocrity, a North-American cultural desert,
A foggy reality,
Evaded and
Avoided
Through
Inhaling
Mist.

In that dopey lilt the spirit of hope appeared
Madame Liberte, that verdant Goddess… the Faery
Stood at her feet and with her flaming torch
Of freedom, set Kumari’s soul afire, a fiery fever
Erupted: that ravaged and consumed the feminine frame,
Lady Liberty raised her up into the swart sky,
And set her like a burning comet across an April heaven
Laughing across the slashing surf of the Atlantic
Eastwards to the place of the dawn, the soul awakened
A spirit soaring,
Over
Empty vales
To taste
Celestial
Nectar.

Launched into frivolity: spellbound by the silver’d moon;
The crescent whisper’d promise of rare jewels …
In abundant measure, treasures of Eurasia’s dawn.
Across a bridge she tip-toed with a bouquet of red roses
Over the ocean to the ripple of the trickling Seine
All transformed on alighting: in a cocktail dress
A butterfly in bright translucent emerald hue
Blended and woven by the famed Vicomtesse de Ribes.
Splendid in glory… wonderfully waltzing in Gallic rhyme
To the sovereign echo of magical lunar tunes,
To the final majestic moment, the first rays of…
Charismatic, enigmatic dawn of the Sun-King, then
Led magnetically by Antoinette, into the city;
The centre, the square of revolving orbs and spheres…
Arabesque of ghosts all swirling and twirling around
The silent, lonely
Obelisk
In the
Place de la Concorde.
In the early
Morn.

Ushered in haste by Valentino de Rosso
Who led her by leaps and bounds to the Rue Assas
To Christian Constant: to gorge on Ceylon cinnamon
And Yemeni jasmine: Valrhona forged chocolate by
The artistic grand-master of silken ganache
And the Palet D’or…
Then, with a well-composed quip curteousy of Villon
She skipped a chant all the way to the D’Orsay
Blending in dance to the bold colours of Les Fauves:
Matisse introduced Vincent, not lost but forlorn
Frozen in the waves of an ice blue storm, she…
Frowned,
Still calm and voluptuous … then quietly moved on,
And said;

“let me eat chou de fleur paired with black truffle,
With supreme Albufera ladled on vollaile de Bresse
Lunch with Ducasse at the Plaza Athenee
Sparkle beneath 10,000 crystals and Clementine cloth
A glass of that Lanson; Noble Cuvee 88, as I
Skip down the Champs Elysee. all
Paid for with an Assignat:
Cent Vingt Cinc Sols.
But
Then

Emmanuel chimed in the Temple of Reason
Marking the time of dusk, Amristar framed in Helios
The descending sun, reflected in murmuring waters
She plunged… thro’ the voice of the Guru Granth Sahib
Who, calling the Bayniens to the doorway to God,
Her venture, a mighty sea of thoughts realized ... now
Retreated like the tides, the rainbow bubble bursting,
The yellow path crumbling to dust and rubble…
Paaram awoke, stranded again on the suburban shore
A rare flower in a garden of weeds, bordered by laws,
And ordered
To start sweeping
The dusty
Floor.

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More poems are available for the members of the Eccentric Club: http://www.eccentricclub.co.uk/club-library/the-battle-of-verse.php

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Mr Adrian Brown's books of poems can be purchased here: http://www.inpressbooks.co.uk/adrian_brown_f02591.aspx

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