wilf jones poems 7 arcadia

                    the heft and the edge                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     10/6/2020







           VERSE                                            arcadia



    Some readers of poetry legitimately prefer to bypass the reasons and motivations of the poet.
    All poems should be self-contained, they say. If more needs to be known then the poem has
    failed. For those so inclined please do skip what follows.
    Others readers, however, find the odd clue very helpful. So here are a few words of introduction:

    My Arcadia is a set of five poems. The set emerged partially formed on a visit to Wimpole Hall
    in Cambridgeshire, a stately home of England with it’s red-brick house, Capability Brown
    gardens and curious folly on the hillside. In the previous week I’d watched a tv rerun of Peter Greenaway’s
    film The Draughtsman’s Contract and travelled to London to see Tom Stoppard’s fantastic play Arcadia. Sitting there on a grassy rise, on that beautiful summer’s day, eating my picnic and taking in the view of the house, all of the elements seemed to fall together.

    The piece is entitled Arcadia because it is in some way a tribute to the play, and it uses something of the structure - beginning in the tourist present, shifting back into the time when the current landscape was created, dwelling upon the shenanigans of the household and then
    ending in tragedy.

    As a reader all you need to know is that the house is home to Thomasina, a child prodigy, that
    her tutor is Septimus Hodge, and that the night of the ball does not go well.

    The five poems are best read consecutively. The piece was designed for performance so, after
    a run through, try reading it out loud. Try different voices for each poem. Much more fun that way.
    And don’t let the rhythm carry you through too fast.


pic Wimpole Folly © Copyright Geoff Barber and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence