For our Featured Poem this week, we’re looking to what lies beneath as The Big Dig gets underway at Calderstones Park at our HQ in Liverpool. It’s the very first time the park has been opened for historical excavation, and we’re keeping our ears close to the ground – figuratively speaking – as for the next two weeks our volunteers will be taking up their trowels and hoping to discover some ancient artefacts that might give us an indication of the earliest settlers to the area.
Our team were so eager to get underway that the digging started earlier than expected at the end of last week – you can keep up to speed with all the latest developments over the next two weeks @CaldiesMansion on Twitter or by taking a read of The Big Dig blog: caldiesbigdig.org.uk
We might have chosen a piece from the ‘Earth poet’ William Wordsworth, but instead we’ve been inspired to whizz from the past right along into the future with this poem from Rudyard Kipling, which speaks rather grandly to the cycle of life we find ourselves a part of. We’ve also a feeling that our hardworking diggers will need their rest and a lie down (perhaps a little bit less than an ‘aeon’), so this will hopefully do the trick in providing something to relax with.
When Earth’s Last Picture is Painted
When Earth’s last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
‘Till the Master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy
They’ll sit in a golden chair
They’ll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet’s hair
They’ll find real saints to draw from
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They’ll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!
“Jump and let’s build our wings on the way down” – Ray Bradbury
Could you swap Poe or Potter for a plunge, or substitute Lewis or Lessing for a leap? Want to take the title of Wuthering Heights quite literally? This summer we’re going to heights as before unreached as we bring Bungee Fest to Calderstones Park.
Over two days, Bungee Fest will combine live music, stalls, great food and refreshments with a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience a 150 foot bungee jump. The first event of its kind in the city, we’re hoping that the sun will be shining and that lots of thrill-seekers and onlookers alike will join us for what will be a weekend to remember.
By taking on the staggering feat, our bungee-ing daredevils will be part of a much bigger picture. All the proceeds from Bungee Fest will go towards our fundraising target for Calderstones Mansion House, where we’re creating an International Centre for Reading and a community base for people to come together, build healthier communities, make friends and find employment. Through Calderstones Mansion, it’s our aim to give current and future generations the opportunity to discover shared reading, improve wellbeing and extend the pleasure and power of reading for all.
A great summer day out in the Park, an unparalleled opportunity and the chance to support a vital cause – who could ask for more?
Tickets for Bungee Fest cost £80, including admission fee and a donation to the Calderstones Mansion project. The brave amongst you will also receive a goody bag for taking part (as well as the exhilaration that comes from having jumped 150 feet). Snap up your tickets straight away by heading to bungeefest.eventbrite.co.uk
Find out more information about Bungee Fest by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting our website: http://www.thereader.org.uk/calderstones/bungee-fest
We’ll be bringing you more about Bungee Fest in the coming months, so stay tuned…
The sun is shining and we’re enjoying seeing birds flitting from tree to tree at our HQ in Calderstones Park. Their songs make a wonderful accompaniment to our working days – we wonder whether they might want to join in some shared reading?
In honour of our feathered friends and the joys they bring, this week’s Featured Poem comes from Percy Bysshe Shelley with this particularly lovely ode to those that scope the skies.
To a Skylark
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.
In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O’er which clouds are bright’ning,
Thou dost float and run;
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of Heaven,
In the broad day-light
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight,
Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflow’d.
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.
Like a Poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:
Like a high-born maiden
In a palace-tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Its aerial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:
Like a rose embower’d
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflower’d,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-winged thieves:
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
Teach us, Sprite or Bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Or triumphal chant,
Match’d with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt,
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?
With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest: but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety.
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?
We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Looked-after child, reading in a one-to-one session
On Monday 20th April from 2-5pm, discover how you can inspire a love of words and reading in young people, from tiny tots to teens!
Join Up for Arts, championing arts participation and volunteering in Merseyside, and The Reader Organisation, pioneering an exciting new way to engage with literature through shared reading groups across the UK.
Highlights will include:
- An extract from David Almond’s award-winning book Skellig, read by BBC Radio Merseyside’s very own Roger Phillips
- Top 10 Tips for reading with children and a Q&A, brought to you by practitioners from The Reader Organisation
- An opportunity to see shared reading in action, in The Reader Organisation’s end-of-talk taster sessions
- Information about the new Liverpool Families project, and how you can get involved in reading with disadvantaged children across the city.
Spaces are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment. Contact the BBC Radio Merseyside ‘A’ Team on 0151 794 0984 to book a place, or to leave your details to find out more.
BBC Radio Merseyside
31 College Lane
Liverpool, Merseyside L1 3DS
We’re always keen to point out the links between shared reading, great literature and good wellbeing, but our credentials for healthy living here at The Reader Organisation have been given another boost as we have been reaccredited for the Workplace Wellbeing Charter.
The Workplace Wellbeing Charter is an opportunity for organisations to demonstrate their commitment to the health and wellbeing of their workforce. Like the shared reading groups we run throughout the UK each week, the Charter takes a holistic approach to wellbeing that includes leadership, culture and communication, as well as health and wellbeing topics such as physical activity and mental health, promoting rounded discussions between employers and employees. The standards reflect best practice and are endorsed nationally by Public Health England, with our accreditation carried out by Health@Work.
Being based in the beautiful and blooming surroundings of Calderstones Park in Liverpool, we were already off to a good start (taking a look at The Allerton Oak and a particularly lovely magnolia tree provides the perfect opportunity to get into the fresh air and clear our minds) but we’re very pleased to report an overall achievement in the several categories of wellbeing outlined by the Charter.
The set of values that shape our culture and working practices both internally and externally, including ‘Great literature is at our heart’, ‘We value innovation and find ways to live with change’ and ‘We celebrate success but learn from our mistakes’, were highlighted as particularly significant:
The Reader Organisation’s values are to be highly praised. It is clear that this set of eight values runs right through the heart of the organisation and is not merely theoretical or tokenistic.
Other stand-out points included the support given to staff in their roles through methods including a personal development programme, action to encourage staff participation to become involved in physical activity and our shared lunches each Monday, bringing staff together with lots of good, healthy food.
We’re proud to be wearing the badge for wellbeing, demonstrating our commitment to encourage positive practices both inside and outside of the organisation.
If you’d like to come and work for an organisation that values good wellbeing, we’re currently recruiting for a number of jobs based at our Liverpool HQ, including a Volunteer Coordinator for an exciting new project working with children and families, a developer for our upcoming Story Barn at Calderstones and managerial positions in Marketing, IT and Operations. See our website for full details on all roles, including how to apply and deadlines for applications: http://www.thereader.org.uk/working-with-us/job-opportunities/current-opportunities