Monday 30 May 2016

Task 38:Write a 36-line poem describing my sixtyat60 experiences

I only have myself to blame for this penultimate task in my sixtyat60 challenge. I got a bit carried away. In fact in the first instance I specified that I had to write a 60-line poem. But then it occurred to me that a poem of that length might be extremely tedious for the poor reader to wade through, let alone a bit of a marathon to compose.  So days before the challenge began, I made a last minute decision to reduce the number of lines to 36. Super wise move Hunot.

Of course I wasn't in a position to make a start on the poem until the end of the sixtyat60 challenge was in sight.  With the end finally looming, I slipped into full-on panic mode. Where to start? What angle to take? What sort of scansion? I was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed. Then as I was listening to Year of the Cat for the umpteenth time whilst rehearsing for my Saxophone Riff Moment, a cunning plan emerged from the outer reaches of my brain. The Year of the Cat is organised into 7 verses containing 33 lines. That's almost 36 lines. And the title contains the word 'year'. Hmm......

And so it was that I came to shamelessly steal and adapt the lyrics of Al Stewart's great song. In my version of the song I can only describe a small number of the tasks - and I've had to slap on another verse at the end to ensure that I meet the 36-line criterion. But that's poetic licence for you. One word of warning - the scanning of the lines is quite quirky, in line with the original song lyrics...... 

Year of the Tasks

(with sincere apologies to Al Stewart & Peter Wood)

On an evening at the Globe Theatre
In the audience there's not a peep
Actors stroll onto the stage in As You Like It
And Michael falls asleep

She comes past Worthing Pier in her lycra running
And sees Jonathan is waiting there
He drags her by the hand to the finish
With only seconds to spare.

In the year of the tasks  

She doesn't take no for an answer
A lindy hop class is a must
Though they dance without a sense of which direction
It's a YouTube clip or bust 

By the muddy walls in the dairy stalls
With Iris, cows and Moo Man too
Today, she says, I'll squeeze some teats
And watch the milk come running through

The year of the tasks 

She looks at the wall so coolly
Whilst a small heart is tattooed on her hip
Liz comes in and says 'Tell me truly
Will it hurt me, to have a boat on my foot?'

The year of the tasks 

Well morning comes and still no passport
Lucy can't get on the Stockholm flight
She's thrown away the chance to meet Anna Ternheim
It's a really sad plight 

The painful strains of the sax remain
And the dogs still howl loud every day
You know those notes she's bound to mess up
But for now she's going to play
The year of the cat

She's sixty one today and shattered
She's done glamping in the cold night air   
One last blog and she can finally nail the challenge
If she can stay awake to share

In the year of the tasks


And that's it guys - with this final blog, Task 38 is also completed and my job is done. Time to put away my laptop and get on with everyday life. But not before saying a huge, sincere and warmer than warm thank you to everyone who's been involved in my sixtyat60 challenge through support, companionship and/or donations over the last year as I've worked my way through my crazy list of tasks.  People have been wonderfully willing, kind, generous, helpful, fun and thoughtful in a myriad of different ways and I'm so so grateful to you all.  My special thanks, love and hugs go to Andrew who not only has been by my side for many of the tasks, but has also proof-read nearly every blog before I publish it. Hope you approve of this one H!

My plan is to send you an update in about 4 weeks' time, when I hope to be able to answer the question that has been on many people's lips recently - 'So what are you going to do with yourself once the challenge is finished.....?!' 

Until then I'll leave you all in peace, with one last gentle reminder that I've been doing the second half of this challenge in memory of a very special little girl, Thea Redford, and that if you had it in mind to make a donation to Shooting Star Chase, the charity that supported Thea's parents Annabel and Rob through many wonderful but challenging times, there's still time to do so at:

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