Some 50 residents joined in Castlecrag’s first Annual Poetry Day on Remembrance Day, 11 November 2007, outside Sally’s Bookshop. Many had penned works reflecting Castlecrag’s community, environment, history or future. Poets ranged in age from 9 to 90 and all delighted in the informal fun of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Audience adulation was encouraged where any poem mentioned a possum, brushtail or ringtail. Judges’ criteria were relevance to Castlecrag, technical qualities, flow and use of imagery.
Eventual winner of the children’s section was bright-eyed Sophie Alais with ‘Gnomies, The Storm’and‘I wonder’, closely followed by Tom Hayward’s ‘The misty, misty Crag’ and limerick ‘Possum’. Best non-resident poem was from Eve McGlashen whose ‘Lorikeets of Castlecrag’ knew ‘we need the promise of a rainbow in our lives‘, a sentiment emphasised by Gaye James’ ‘For Shannon’, mourning her son’s death at 23 in 2000.
The fur really flew in the hotly contested possum section with Rob Sheldon’s ‘Crag Drummer’waking him with a ‘crash upon the flat tin roof’ as he departs to forage, while the family Hayward’s eight verses described ‘nine possums sitting like Christmas tree ornaments,/ under a Southern Cross’. Elizabeth Lander juxtaposed the human and possum sleep patterns in the arboreal highways and Toni Foster portrayed possum as the ‘sentinel of the night’ that keeps ‘the evening secrets of Castlecrag…people who visit others’.
Narrative poems were very popular. Librettist Vicki Freame rewrote the song ‘I’ve Been Everywhere’ to ‘The Crag is where it’s at, man’, explaining to a New York visitor the curious sets of names of ‘Crag’ streets, plants, animals and even shops. Therese Hayward mused on a detour around the Sailors Bay ‘winding green track’and Marie Bassett’s ‘All The World’s a Stage’ wittily brought Shakespeare’s seven ages of man to 2007. But the winner of the ‘Poet Lorikeet’ garland was Dorothy Fraser’s ‘Aussie Journey’, 14 Homeric stanzas relating the family’s emigration from Scotland in 1975 to be greeted by graffiti ‘Shame Fraser Shame’!
Our thanks to all for a great afternoon and what will surely become an annual event. Thanks also to Sally’s Bookshop, to Bai Yok for lending chairs, and to Castlecrag Cellars for prizes.
Note: The Poet Lorikeet’s first official poem, ‘The Haven’s Carols’, is displayed at The Griffin Centre noticeboard plus photos from Christmas Eve and the productionWhen Camels Could Fly.