(Posted as a farewell to my fellow students on the Open University poetry course A175.)
The Song of A175
At the foot of Cader Idris,
In a cluttered little semi,
Lived a tired and harassed teacher
Lived there with her husband Graham,
Never time to clean and tidy,
Always working, never idle,
Always busy, busy, busy.
Wanting to become a poet
Helen signed up with the OU,
Found a bunch of friendly students,
Fellow seekers after knowledge,
Learned with them the arcane secrets,
Looked at metaphor and rhythm,
Learned of vilanelles and sonnets,
Wrote a sonnet and sestina.
Through the blocks they worked together,
Writing lots of different verses,
Some were comic, some were serious,
Soon the group was bound together,
Sharing trials and tribulations,
Offering help and consolation,
When the going became tricky.
Christmas came and brought disruption,
No time now for OU study,
Helen found that getting started
After Christmas wasn't easy,
Neither did the block of poems
Parodying famous verses
Strike a spark of inspiration,
Some she thought were rather feeble,
Copying others is too easy,
(As this poem neatly shows us),
That's 'cos more than half the work's done,
They have picked the rhyme and rhythm,
Chosen subject, theme and verse form.
Helen, lacking inspiration,
Only skimmed the course materials,
And to add to her frustration,
She'd been scheming with her daughter,
They had planned a house makeover
While her husband was away for
One week only, studying Stateside,
Lodged in Boulder, Colerado.
Stripping, painting, laying floor tiles,
Brought results, a great improvement,
House was bright and clean and cheerful,
But there'd been no poems written,
So before she really knew it,
Helen reached the course's ending,
Ooops! Just time to say goodbye now,
Bid farewell to fellow students.
Looking once again in FirstClass,
Helen found her friends there waiting,
All assignments done and posted
To the electronic OU system,
Nothing now to do but wait for
TMA results arriving,
One week left till FirstClass closes,
Just leaves time to say our farewells.
But there's one more thing to mention,
Lynda, patient OU tutor,
Guided every would-be poet,
Through the harsh rocks of confusion,
Past the foetid swamps of cliche,
To the rolling plains where fertile
Soil will nurture seeds of poems
Yet to come from minds enlightened
By the clear -- and yet still challenging! --
Course materials on the website.
Now this poem just like the course has
Reached it's ending, so goodbye!
It's been One of Those Weeks. Or perhaps One of Those Fortnights. G had to go to the US on a course, an Ofsted inspector was coming to the centre where I teach on Tuesdays, I had a new course to start that I've never taught before and my daughter and I had hatched a plan to give the kitchen and bathroom a makeover a) while G was out of the way so he wouldn't moan about the mess and b) to surprise him when he came back. In addition, the poetry course I've been doing came to an end, also the fiction writing one I tutor. Fortunately I'd forseen that the final poetry assignment would come at a busy time, so I'd got that in about 2 weeks early, but I still had to deal with panicking students on the fiction course and start getting a new fiction writing course underway as there's no gap between these short courses and sometimes even an overlap.
Anyway, I'm ploughing through my immense To Do list this weekend. Also the first lesson of the new course (Introduction to Digital Photography) went OK. The tutor, who has been teaching if for more than a year and who more or less devised the course for the college is passing stuff to me on a Need to Know basis, one lesson at a time. This should work. At least all the handouts and question sheets are already written for me.