On our recent visit to Rudyard Kipling’s house in Burwash, personal memories came flooding back because several things looked so familiar.
All these things reminded me of my grandparents’ much more modest Victorian house in London, where I had lived as a child. But in the case of the jug and basin we didn’t have Bateman’s wonderful Dutch tiles. But I have now written poem based on the memory of our grandfather clock.
I warmed to Kipling’s wardrobe trunk. Shirts on hangers and intriguing little drawers used on his considerable travels.
My poem about my dad is called ‘Weaving Spells’ with the line ‘discovering him in the hall one day with a clarinet and chocolate in his pockets’, but somehow I had completely forgotten the trunk until this moment. But I think I might be inspired to dedicate a poem just to the trunk.
Our marionette musicals that played Blackpool, Scarborough, Clacton and Bognor in Southsea were about to come to an end.
Our portable theatre with it’s plush red velvet curtains, the puppets with their many strings and wooden limbs would be redundant.
“The year we are reduced to working in the open air will be our last summer season,” said my father on more than one occasion.
In Southsea we were obliged to perform under canvas three times daily. It rained, it poured, there were torrential storms all season. No one wanted to get soaked to the skin watching a puppet show.
We became so desperate that we set up a wishing well with a puppet selling lucky dips to passersby. Now this was not part of our contract, the council were not happy, but dad, for ever the entrepreneur, made a small fortune.
I am sure there are the stirrings of new poems from these memories in there somewhere.
Your own or other peoples’ artifacts can be a great of source of inspiration be it poems, memoirs or short stories.
Southsea was indeed the beginning of the end of an era and shows in Stately homes and one at Buckingham Palace in the past. Luckily Road Safety Shows in London Schools and TV commercials beckoned. Later came cabaret, the TV series ‘The Telegoons’ and,making and performing with our marionettes in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’.
‘Weaving Spells’ is in ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’. But I am currently working on a new collection called ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ with 22 poems so far. I should really stop blogging right and get on with it. Happy Days!
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