stabbing - 1, poetry - 0
I'd been commended in a poetry competition. That meant I didn't get any money but I was invited to the awards ceremony. There was a possibility of free drinks and nibbles and a certainty of conversation about poetry. On any other night of the week, I'd have been happy to hang out with the poets. But fencing night is different.
There are, of course, fencers who are poets. I'd like to model myself on Cyrano de Bergerac as far as that's concerned. But I've yet to fence while improvising a ballade. (I'm not very good at ballades.)
I'd have enjoyed the conversation of the poets. The winning poems were excellent and deservedly placed above mine. On 23rd October I was poet of the day on the website associated with the competition, but my sestina has now been consigned to the archive.. I'm in very distinguished company.**
For a few minutes I wondered whether I should opt for an evening of poetry. But I was too tired and the award ceremony was in Derby - a bus or train journey away. I was so exhausted I wasn't sure how I would get to fencing, let alone lift an epee. Luckily a taxi was parked at the beginning of my route. I'm not sure I'd have made it on foot. I staggered out of the taxi and into the hall, glad to have missed most of the warm-up. But as usual, once I'd picked up a sword the tiredness fell away.
Once again I started with foil. I'm not a natural foilist but I'm beginning to think that a knock-about with foil helps my epee skills. Although the rules are different, fencing with foil helps me to focus and the constraints seem to prepare me for the greater freedom of epee-fencing. Perhaps the swimming heped too.
It wasn't a great night of fencing but some of my hits landed well. I may be the weakest epeeist in the club but I seem to be making progress again. And there was good conversation too.
On the walk home, I was exhilarated. An evening of poetry or an evening of epee? There was no contest.
** Anyone who works out which poem is mine may be interested to know that it was written as an exercise a couple of years ago, following a set form and set end-words. The repeated words and the form came before the subject.