Local Poet Laureate releases poem for July

Lincolnshire’s Poet Laureate, Joel Stickley, has written a poem for July, which is a tribute to the county’s aviation heritage.

The poem was performed at the Waddington Air Show.

The Poet Laureate role was taken up by Stickley in April but officially began in May and he will have the position initially for six months.

The role was created as part of the Igniting Ambition programme, which is a showcase of arts and heritage projects in the run up to the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012.

Stickley will go around the county getting children and adults interested in writing and presenting poetry.

Here is July’s poem

The Invention of Flight

It started small —
a fall from a chair when fixing a light
and flight just happened.
Mrs Slattern of Spalding, aged 74,
the floor just tumbling up towards her.
It affords her a moment to think;
she blinks and then… she’s flying.
Without even trying, mankind’s oldest obstacle surmounted.
She accounted for her success that day with a range of things.
She did not sprout unexpected wings
or miraculously levitate and whizz around;
she just fell, then failed to reach the ground.

Before she could adjust to this turn of events,
over the fence floated Paul from next door.
‘Cor!’ was all he could say.
The way he dipped and bobbed
as he lobbed himself over the trellis
made Mrs Slattern slightly jealous,
so she tried some moves of her own.
She had never flown before, so this was trial and error.
The hint of terror behind the excitement
felt like an indictment of ever having walked on the ground.
She tumbled around and giggled like a baby.
Maybe this was her reward for years of arthritis –
she might as well enjoy it.

It didn’t take long for the flying to spread.
People falling out of bed didn’t make it to the floor –
their loved ones saw them float out of windows, still snoring,
while postmen soaring high over barking dogs
let catalogues and junkmail fall like snow.
The streets below were deserted.
Disconcerted but giddy with their new skill,
people filled the sky with loop the loops,
whoops of excitement and daredevil swoops.
There were near misses, airborne kisses,
men flying fast to escape from the missus.
All of human life was there –
except now, everything was up in the air.

By the afternoon, the surface of the moon
couldn’t have looked bleaker than the high street.
The feet that would normally have pounded those roads
were far from grounded and rising in their droves.
Only hours had passed since the invention of flight,
but as night came on, almost everyone had gone.
Only one hovering figure remained
and, as the darkness came,
she strained to still see her front door
before rising up to join the ones who had gone before –
Mrs Slattern of Spalding, aged 74.

Source: Cultural Solutions | Photo: Kelly Moore for The Lincolnite