HomeFeedback on Peter Wallis’ Reading, 5 Sept., 2016Before reading his poems, Peter introduced us to what he referred to as the ‘twoness of twinship’. ‘We shared memories to such an extent that we no longer knew (later) who did what. There was double vulnerability, and double assurance.’Were they identical? Was he the first to arrive? Questions were immediately thrown up. Nor did interest in the human situation flag when he began with the momentous birth, ‘Born1954: 1:45 / 1:54 p.m.’ ‘in the time it might taketo heat a pan of frozen peasor boil two eggs consecutively: …which, after all, has equivalenceto what “the Twins” did.A lot of his poems’ characteristic mood and content was in this first poem: contemporary, with ranging references, an academic edge, humour side by side with discomfort, and an eye on the miraculous.The first selection, set round school days, was from Peter’s runner-up collection in the Bare Fiction Debut Poetry Competition 2015, judged by Andrew McMillan. Macmillan found the poems in Articles of Twinship elicitied life ‘as something tentative as well as tender’.The poems we heard later, drove ever deeper into aspects of relationship. Peter’s twin, John, has suffered a great deal of illness from a tumour on his brain. ‘Unfairness’ would be too trite a word. The poems seek to honour human torment by being realistic about it. ‘You wear the bed / like an exoskeleton.’ (Hospital Bed) ‘And what good has come of it? I ask myself,’The storyline has an emotive impact. We are doubly grateful to Peter who stepped in as reader at very late notice, taking on the theme of haunting and ghostliness. I guess Hardy was inevitable here. Hardy’s whose ‘invisible company’ invariably returned from the dead. What plangent repeated lines from Hilda’s choice, ‘The Garden Seat’.‘For they are as light as upper air, / They are as light as upper air! Instead of ‘Quite a row of them’ (the dead) we were introduced to a single spook in Hardy’s ‘The Phantom Horsewoman’, brought by Nigel who also read Roethke’s ‘The Visitant’ with its hovering female spirit.Birds rather than people are the presence that ‘tugs the heart’ in Kevin C-Holland’s ‘Wintering Grounds’ chosen by David Crombie. More birds in Maureen’s anonymous ‘I am Not There’. My favourite of those she brought along.‘I am the swift uplifting rushof quiet birds in circled flight.’Orlando Edmonds’ ‘Bird Haunt’ only featured birds in its title, but ‘summer does that / brings out in the warm / streets // what haunts your head’. What an electric beginning!Three other poems explored our theme. David’s was a wittily-titled and teasing sonnet, ‘Prince Shaman’. Polly had fun with memories of Chrissy Yaxley who fathered the man who laid out the allotment where we share ,each year, a raspberry bounty. It’s odd how the ferrets he produced from his shirt neck and pockets left such a mark with us as kids. My own hauntings came from those who left their creative mark in our house. Sally and John L have been penning poems on French beaches, dreaming up mermen, only the one washed up, was dead. Drama over, ‘the sea purred rhythmically..’John’s ‘Our Time 12092016’ is a physicist’s lyric, written to be sung. We’ll do our best for music at the November meeting.