Poetry in Enfield from Henry VIII to Enfield Poets – part one, Henry VIII

Poetry fills Enfield’s air, seeps out of the ground so it is no wonder so many poets are associated with this North London Borough.  The first for me is:Henry-VIII1

 

 

Henry VIII who liked to hunt in the vast forest that was the Royal Chase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

P1000506

 

His palace, Elsynge was located in, what are now, the grounds of Forty Hall.

 

 

 

 

[6533] Elsyng

Each year the Enfield Archaeological Society excavate the ruins but have to refill them as the masonry is of such poor quality and would deteriorate if left exposed to the atmosphere:  though current thinking is that Elsynge was every bit as grand as Hampton Court.  It was certainly his favourite palace and was probably more of a family home.  His children Edward and Elizabeth spent a lot of time there and it is where they were told of their father’s death and that Edward was to be king. It is thought that much of the planning of the Reformation was carried out here.  Nearby Waltham Abbey was the last monastery to be dissolved as the abbot was a friend of Henry.

Elsgyne site from House

 

 

Looking down towards the site of Elsynge Palace from the second floor of Forty Hall.

 

 

 

 

In Henry’s time less than 10% of the population were literate.  It was important for the monarch to be perceived as cultured as well as having physical prowess and power,  It was the time of courtly love and romance and Henry writing poetry was in keeping with the times.  Not a great poet by any means but he spent time on it and I feel that a relaxed atmosphere at Elsynge and the hunting encouraged this creative side of the monarch.  He often used his poetry as a political tool, reminding all that he was King and that his will should prevail.

When researching for this blog I was very pleased to discover a book edited by Peter C Herman “Reading Monarchs Writing” which has a series of essays and examples of the poetry of Henry VIII, Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I and James VI/I. Apart from Mary Stuart all had lived in Enfield at one time or another.  I emailed Peter Herman who gave me permission to quote from his book and here is one of Henry’s poems.  It is very political.  Though it begins in a defensive apologetic mood, it ends with an overt statement of Royal power.

Though some say that youth rules me,
I trust in age to tarry.
God and my right, and my duty,
From them shall  I never vary,
Though some say that youth rules me.

I pray you all that aged be
How well did you your youth carry?
I think some worse of each degree.
Therein a wager lay dare I,
Though some say that youth rules me.

Pastimes of youth some time among–
None can say but necessary.
I hurt no man, I do no wrong,
I love true where I did marry,
Though some say that youth rules me.

Then soon discuss that hence we must.
Pray we to God and Saint Mary
That all amend, and here an end.

Thus says the King, the eighth Harry,
Though some say that youth rules me.

Finally a poem that sums Henry up I feel.  It is rather long so I give just the first stanza.

The Kings Ballad

Pastime with good company
I love and shall until I die.
Grudge who likes, but none deny;
So God be pleased, thus live will I,
      For my pastance:
Hunt, sing, and dance.

 

 

Enfield Poem-a-Thon at the Dugdale, Enfield, October 1st 2017

Enfield has  long  nurtured poets starting with Henry VIII.  On October 1st this year 53 poets came together to voice their poems in 8 minutes slots between 10am and 7pm.  It was  the brainchild of Enfield poet Maggie Butt

Poet Maggie Butt

and organised by her and fellow poet Cheryl Moskowitz

Poet Cheryl

Not only was it  an exciting and vigorous day it finished on time!  An impressive feat of organisation; formidable.  It was held in the Dugdale Art Centre and a large part of the success of the project was due to the help and support given by both management and staff.  The readings took place in the toy and games museum and in one of the photos you can see “scrabble” which was, for a long time,made in Enfield.  The Centre is a good venue for poetry and  Enfield Poets , who are poets in residence at the Dugdale, meet in one of the rooms on the first floor.

Getting ready

 

 

 

 

Getting ready to start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The aim was to raise money for Enfield Refugee Welcome  to enable a refugee family settle in Enfield.  The original target of £4,500 – enough to settle one family – was quickly reached and the second target of £9,000 was then over taken and I am sure more than £15,000 will be raised.  The money was channelled through the Just Giving web site which will be open until December 2017.

Here is the list of poets in the running order:

Poem-a-thon Programme

and a few of the poets: Valerie Darville, Danielle Hope, Mario Petrucci and George Szirtes.

The whole event was filmed by Ken Sabbarton, a marathon in itself.  Nine hours of video would be too much so here is the video clip of my session.  I fluffed the last verse of When There Were Gods.  If you want to read the poem please click here.

ENFIELD POETS 11TH APRIL

Enfield Poets meet once a month for an evening of poetry with guests and poets from the floor.  Originally meeting in Salisbury House and known as Salisbury House Poets, we changed to Enfield Poets when we moved to the Dugdale Centre in Enfield Town a different but great venue.

The guests for the Enfield Poets’ evening for 11th April were the three winners of our competition, Sylvia Rowbottom, Patricia McFarlane and Caroline Price. Each a different voice, each a good poet, each passionate and a good performer.

Poets from the floor in the open mic sectional are a favourite of mine.  We are fortunate to have so many good poets who are regulars at our evenings of poetry.  Guests often comment how much they have liked the quality and variety of our poets as well as being impressed with the Dugdale Centre.  Again Enfield Poets are fortunate to be able to perform in such an agreeable venue whose staff are so helpful.  As well as a good choice of rooms we can use, there is the theatre which is great for the occasional show we put on.

Next month the Guests are Hannah Lowe and Karina Vidler as well as, of course, our superb poets from the floor who will be out in good voice.