The Grin of Our Choices

Poet in waitingToday! First day! at the Sydney Writers Festival – hired as a poet to work in the queues lining up for the most fascinating selection of thoughts, ideas…SOGGY queues today. Rain decided the poetry picked, it made sense of our quest to make these places of waiting less….less of a dampener on the spirit. Less of a fury quest when you can’t quite get in when you want, or the way you want. 

Speaking “the both of us are rocking in the grin of our choices” to smiling clusters. Stuck under an awning, rain dripping like a curtain between those listening to ‘A Little Laugh I Lost Somewhere’ and those huddled under the next tent determined to flex their imagination and hear a conversation about ideas that they lean toward. Sharing “We’ve all been here before” with another who has spent as long in Sydney as I have in Glasgow, and handing out the ‘business cards’ that relate to this online queue-free scroll. 

There was a moment today when I was reminded of the WHY behind this what. Someone irate, lining up against a concrete wall facing outward, damp, clutching an umbrella and a firing line fury, asking me in my hi-vis POET vest why on earth they are still there, waiting, why aren’t they inside? the time is pointing to an injustice, after all. And after thinking perhaps I should move on I wondered and I dared to ask if I could perhaps share a poem, a tiny one, which may just relate to that feeling. And I shared “this line will become a noose” and she listened and we stood and she let me do one more, and then the queue shifted forward. A thank you left her tongue as she became No 1. 

And someone else recited to me not only the end of the Jabberwocky but an Edward Lear poem. I felt compelled to reply:

‘when things start happening / don’t worry, don’t stew/ just go right along / you’ll start happening too’ (ah, Suess)….

And I was able to hold someone’s place in line while they got a coffee….and came back sorted. Ahhhh, Functional Art. 

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