Saturday, 4 May 2013
New Poetry: 'The Worst Journey in the World'
Gentoo Penguin at Antarctica by jan-borgstede. Used under Creative Commons license
I have had a new poem, 'The Worst Journey in the World', published on Josephine Corcoran's And Other Poems website, here: http://andotherpoems.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/clarissa-aykroyd/
The calibre of the poems and poets already published on the site may tell you something about why I am so pleased to be featured here.
I wrote the first draft of this poem in a workshop with Sean O'Brien about transitional states and places. I actually did once find myself stopped on the train at Earls Court when I was reading The Worst Journey in the World, and my eye fell on a comment which Apsley Cherry-Garrard made about something in Antarctica which had reminded him of Earls Court - that was a very strange and rather beguiling moment. The poem is roughly fictional otherwise, but it has something to say about a) why I sometimes want to be in Antarctica rather than London (my friends know about this side of my personality), and b) the kind of peculiar inner dialogues which can take place in a pressurized atmosphere such as a slowed-down Tube.
As I noted in the previous blog entry about this workshop, the poems produced by many participants tended to be both funny and slightly scary. I don't think this was an exception (although the poems were all very different.) Only after I had written the poem did I realise that there might be something in it of the atmosphere of my first days in London, which happened to be in July 2005, a few weeks after the 7/7 bombings. Unfortunately, Londoners occasionally have reason to feel anxious and unnerved when mysterious incidents and slowdowns take place on public transport. But still, this is a poem which is more funny than sinister, I think.