From Canterbury to Old Kent Road

The transition from one piece to the next is like getting back on a horse after it’s thrown y0u. Not the perfect metaphor as the actual writing of my Parson’s Tale was deeply pleasurable once I realised it was possible. The stress was the deadline but without that deadline I’d still be at research stage. It’s the kind of project you could research to death so essential to create SOME poems. And with each new poem I’ll have more confidence. What helped most? KRS-One, Tupac and those nameless Canterbury schoolkids who gave me those lovely local touches. It’s always the same with me, inspiration comes from a very wide source.

I’ve started rereading The Knight’s Tale – the Ackroyed prose retelling to begin with to get the story clear in my head. Then, when my lovely spanking new with page by page glossary Penguin Canterbury Tales arrives, I’ll read it in the original. I can’t believe I started this project thinking my enormous 1000-page complete Chaucer with glossary at the back would suffice. I don’t know how I coped as a student. Anyway, this new text will be large but portable. Just what I need for this literary journey.

The Knight’s Tale is a real treat after the Parson’s. So emotionally rich. But in many ways harder to make my own. It calls for a different creative imagination. The framework of the story is already there. I need to do something new with it. Out of all the BBC adaptations, this was the most hard-hitting.

The next step is a bit of investigating. Where is St Thomas a Watering? Seems to be just off the Old Kent Road (not that far from where I lived a child. Apparantly there used to be a pub called Thomas a Beckett opposite. Pity it’s not there now, like the Tabard Inn. Anyway, was wondering where (if anywhere) I’d place the first tale. And now the penny’s dropping as to why Old Kent Road is so named. Never made the connection before. Greenwich used to be part of Kent. I need to look at an old map or at least get some info on it. Looks like I need to make a trip to sarf London at some stage. Funny that’s lots of places on the London Canterbury route are where I used to hang out. Looking forward to doing Deptford/Greenwich tale/s for that reason. Anyway, as usual time is tight and there’s the conflict between writing about it and doing the research. This thinking aloud is great but it’s slower than thinking in my head. But watch this space. More smaller posts will be coming (rather than one big weekly one) or maybe just one small weekly one!!!


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