Relax (don’t do it?)

I suppose the religious analogy is with the ‘last days’ where everything is in a state of chaos and confusion and expectation of the second coming. For us, right now, there are some definite parallels. The chaos and confusion is there, certainly. There are even a couple of candidates for the AntiChrist figure. But the expectation is there too. The expectation of a return – but not of a messiah, rather to some semblance of normality.

As we are told we can relax the constraints a little, we’re nervous about whether we should, whether we dare. We’re suspicious of motivation and confused by the science and the welter of statistics. And in the midst of this, there are a few other things going on. The Brexit trade talks for instance, which appear to be going nowhere. The refusal to countenance an extension to the deadline, a position which is so pig headed, so wrong headed, as to defy belief. The brutal murder of George Floyd and the outpouring of grief and anger which has resulted. The changes we hope may result from that. And the climate emergency. No, that hasn’t gone away.

As a writer I’ve always felt a responsibility, and a desire, to deal with events and crises around me in some way and when Simon Armitage announced that a key part of his role as laureate would be to tackle the climate emergency in his work, Mole Valley Poets, of which I am a member, took up the challenge. Our latest anthology is the result, or maybe just the beginnings of a result. In Even in the Shadows – poems for the planet  a baker’s dozen of poets respond to the climate emergency, looking at the threats, the feelings and the stirrings of hope.

Normally we would launch an anthology in the pub. Not this time. Instead we are following up on a successful run of on line meetings by launching the anthology on line at 7.30pm on 15th June. Contributors will share their work and I will be introducing and MCing the event, and reading.  And in the absence of a crowded pub attendees will have to provide their own drinks and lift a glass from a distance.

Joining the event will be easy, with invitations issued to your email address and no need to download anything. Tickets are £6, and all attendees will receive a free copy of the anthology. As usual, the evening will be interesting, varied and thought provoking with some fine poets reading their work.

In recent weeks quite a few of us have also been responding to the Covid crisis and we’re looking to some form of on line sharing of that work too – perhaps by an adjustment to our website. Maybe the next poetic outpouring will be race related? We’re a very white bunch but maybe that puts even more onus on us. A subject for another blog with more focus.

Tickets for the launch event are available on  – 


Tony Earnshaw

Comments are closed.