On March 21st Saltash U3A celebrated World Poetry Day with an afternoon of readings, talk, laughter, reflection and general enjoyment. Our theme was Celebrating Our Third Age and among the poems we explored were Singing Game by ‘local lad’ Charles Causley, which celebrates the passing of the seasons and the years; Oh, I Wish I’d Looked After My Teeth, by Pam Ayres – encouraging us to laugh at some aspect of ‘getting on’; and Philip Larkin’s An Arundel Tomb and Friendship by Elizabeth Jennings – poems which focus on what really matters in life. Sylvia Plath’s Mirror reminded us of having to ‘face up’ to ageing while The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost prompted thoughts on the importance of acknowledging what we’ve probably missed.
A lovely and lively poem which cheered us up no end was Mrs McHingy by Diane Harland. The old lady of the title is at first isolated, grumpy and rather unpleasant but eventually embraces the chance for change and emerges as happy and full of life. (We all felt she must have joined her local U3A to achieve such a transformation). I first came across this joyful piece in All Sorts of Poems edited by Ann Thwaite but can’t find out anything about Diane Harland or her work – so, if anyone out there can help, do let me know.