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My haiku featured…

Dear All, 

Further to my last post, ‘My first ever Literary Award’ (16/03/19), I’m delighted to tell you that my “wisps from a steam iron” haiku has today (28/03/19) been featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Daily Haiku blog: 

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2019/03/27/daily-haiku-march-28-2019/

Enjoy the spring sunshine. 

My very best, 

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019

 

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My first ever Literary Award

Yes, I’ve had a bit of good news, thrilling news! And now it’s out in the public domain, published in the February issue, 29.1, of Blithe Spirit, Journal of the British Haiku Society, I’m delighted to share it with you, as I’ve been itching to do.

It was one dark Wednesday evening in January, returning from Port Sunlight with Maureen, that I found a stiff flat package addressed to me amongst the post waiting for us behind the front door. Opening it, I found a lovely laminated certificate with a crow’s head motif in the middle.  And never was I more surprised in my life than to find I’d won The Museum of Haiku Literature Award for ‘Best of Issue – Blithe Spirit 28.4 – November 2018’.

It was my first ever literary award, and I’d been selected for it by the previous issue’s winner, Debbie Strange.

Here’s my winning haiku:

 

wisps from a steam iron

coil through time

my young mum sings

 

Paul Beech

I’ve now selected the winner and six runners-up from issue 29.1 to be published in the May issue, 29.2. And put my winnings towards my ticket for Martin Edwards’ ‘Alibis in the Archive’ crime writing weekend event at Gladstone’s Library in June!

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019

 

Guest Post -‘Wepre Park’ by Maureen Weldon

Following up the Wepre Park theme from my last post on 15th February 2019, I’m delighted this evening to bring you a guest post from my darling partner, Maureen Weldon, with a poem of her own about this favourite place of ours, just up the road from our Welsh hillside home.

Maureen is Irish, a former professional dancer with the Irish Theatre Ballet under the legendary Joan Denise Moriarty.

Since the latter 80s, Maureen has been a popular, widely-published, award-winning poet, as brilliant in performance as she is on the page. The latest of her five chapbooks is Midnight Robin from Poetry Space Ltd.  In 2014, she represented Wales at Terra Poetica, the international poetry festival held in Ukraine.

Here she is, Maureen…

Guest Post

Having lived near Wepre Park with its ancient woods and amazing history for some ten years…

In 2017 I entered a competition seeking poems, subject, Wepre Park, winning poems to be included in their 2018 Calendar. I was delighted that my poem WEPRE PARK was one of the winning poems.

Thank you Paul for inviting me to send you my poem WEPRE PARK for your wonderful blog, Grandy’s Landing.

With love, Maureen Weldon xx

WEPRE PARK

 

Where past meets present,

I shed my cares;

walk with friends

amongst your woods

of oak, cherry, larch, ash, rowan…

And sometimes in a late frosty afternoon sun,

moon says hello.

 

Sitting silently on a rock

I have heard the little brook laugh

and with the rush of Spring

snowdrops, daffodils, wood anemones;

on every bank and space of earth,

in amazement, bluebells

as far as my eyes can see,

and from every tree, the song of a bird.

 

Maureen Weldon

As one of the winning poems “Wepre Park” was published in the Wepre Park 2018 Calendar.

It was also published in REFLECTIONS 2018 Poetry magazine.

***

‘Wepre Park’ Copyright © Maureen Weldon 2018, 2019

 

Wepre Park

Last September, at the Petersgate Tap in Stockport, Maureen and I attended the launch of a new poetry anthology, Landscapes, edited by poet, novelist and playwright Margaret Holbrook. It was in fact the first anthology published under her own imprint, Empress Press.  Along with the other contributing poets, we read our work, and a very happy evening it was, with good friends, wine and nibbles!

Maureen’s piece was ‘Chester to Wolverhampton on a Crowded Train’, a lovely poem which echoes the rhythm of the rails.

Mine was a short haibun about a favourite place of ours, Wepre Park, a tract of ancient woodland with its own 12th/13th century castle, just up the road from our Welsh hillside home…

WEPRE PARK, Connah’s Quay

Side-stepping puddles, I push deeper into the wood. Sunbeams pierce the high canopy, gilding all, whilst below the swollen brook foams over rocks worn smooth with time.  The rain-rinsed air has a sweet, resinous tang and an eerie, echoey silence prevails save for the racing current, the drumming of a woodpecker somewhere and the reassuring crunch of muddy gravel under my boots.  I’m in another world, a golden, dripping world haunted by the ghosts of brave men, Welsh and Norman, slain in ancient combat.

a jagged skyline

in sundown silhouette –

Wepre guards her secrets

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2018, 2019

The Prayer Book

This haibun tells the true story of my very beginnings in post-war Lancashire

The Prayer Book

My middle bookshelf groans under the weight though the tiny diesel engine, boxed starting pistol, and boxed prayer book piled at the end add little to it.

The diesel engine and starting pistol are mementos from my 1950s boyhood in a Lancashire cotton and colliery town. The prayer book, in red leather with gold lettering, was a christening present from an aunt and uncle in August ’47.

My second christening, that is. My first was four months earlier in the hospital where I’d just been born.

                              a copybook hand

                              the fading scars

                              of war

April ’47. Within the snowbound hospital, a young ex-serviceman and his wife pray over an incubator, beyond tears now.  Their first-born, a victim of the gastro-enteritis epidemic, is close to death and a priest has been sent for…

Miraculously, from the very moment of his emergency christening, Paul Alfred began to recover. And seven decades later, I still ponder the question: What was I saved for?

                              a silver tray

                              Victorian

                              poet’s gaze reflected

                                                                                      Paul Beech

First published in Blithe Spirit (Journal of the British Haiku Society), Volume 28, Number 3, August 2018.

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019

 

A Homelessness Haiku

Further to my post ‘Countdown’ on 4th January 2019, I’m delighted that the poem was reproduced on Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog on 13th January 2019. 

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2019/01/13/a-poem-that-makes-us-grateful-for-what-we-have/#comment-9139

Charlotte is an award-winning American author and poet whose books include Haiku and Senryu: A Simple Guide for All and Shadows and Seasons: Selected Haiku and Senryu. 

Her Writer’s Blog and Daily Haiku are essential reading for anyone interested in haiku and I have gained a great deal of enjoyment, insight and knowledge from reading her posts regularly. 

Continuing the homelessness theme from ‘Countdown’, here’s a haiku of mine first published in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Volume 2, Issue 21, 1st September 2017: 

sleet

a dark form in the shadows

she coughs again 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech, 2017, 2018, 2019

 

 

Countdown

 

Happy New Year, Everyone!

May 2019 prove a joyous and peaceful year for you all.

***

Drawing the curtains back on this rather dull and chilly fourth morning of 2019, I couldn’t help thinking about the homeless and the work I did during my long career as a social housing manager, seeking to ease their plight.

Here’s a poem stemming from that period, written with a particular old boy in mind…

 

COUNTDOWN

 

Midnight in bed,

and a whirling, rustling spiral of dreams,

fragments of the day gone by,

dead leaves in a storm.

 

2 a.m.,

and a lingering whiff of witchcraft,

the smell of an old tramp,

woodfire for warmth in the snow.

 

4 a.m.,

and a hazy moon replicated on my pane,

ghostly eyes, accusing still:

“S’alright for you, Guv, you’ve gorra big ‘ouse.”

 

6 a.m.,

and downriver a cock crows,

time to do it all again, almost:

another day with the homeless.

 

Paul Beech

 

Note: ‘Countdown’ was first published in the author’s collection Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose (Cestrian Press, 2016) and subsequently in Unheard, a Chester Poets anthology (Cestrian Press, 2016) and The Sons of Camus Writers International Journal, Issue 13, Autumn 2017.

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2014, 2016, 2019