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Charlotte Digregorio’s Daily Haiku, October 23rd, 2021

Hi Folks,

It’s always a thrill to have a poem featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s brilliant blog.  And today it’s a haiku of mine about swallows!

Here’s a link, if you’d care to check it out:

Daily Haiku: Oct. 23, 2021 | Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog (wordpress.com)

Please do.  And have a great weekend.

Cheers,

Paul

brass bell: a haiku journal

brass bell, curated by Zee Zahava, is a terrific online haiku journal with work from great haiku poets around the world each month, and I’m always thrilled to be in it.  Here are my poems published in the latest three issues:

(i)

blood sugar up 2.2
I shouldn’t have eaten
the cream cake

(ii)


western roll . . .
I clear the bar at 5 feet
a schoolboy gymnast

(iii)

75 pence —
my 1st magazine cheque
kept as a souvenir

(iv) 

sunset . . .
rods on tripods
father and son pull fish

(v)    

new baby
my four-year-old reminds me
he’s an uncle now

(vi)   

my funny friend . . .
our main course sizzling
she sends me smoke signals

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Paul Beech

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Poems (i), (ii) and (iii) from October 1st 2021 issue.  Theme:  Numbers.

Poem (iv) from September 1st issue.  Theme: New Haiku

Poems (v) and (vi) from August 1st issue.  Theme: Family and Friends

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

The Waking Hour

On Thursday evening 16th September 2021, an amazing event took place in the Merseyside Arts Zone, at Vale Park, New Brighton, on The Wirral peninsula.  It was so warm, the evening had a balmy, enchanted feel to it.

The event was a Red Squirrel Press quadruple book launch, with two fantastic new pamphlets coming out, The Waking Hour by my partner Maureen Weldon and There Will Be Dancing by Kemal Houghton plus two brilliant new collections, The Well of The Moon by Elizabeth Rimmer and Heft by David J. Costello.

The event was in two halves, with Maureen then Kemal reading from their pamphlets before the mid-way break, Elizabeth then David reading from their collections after the break.  And what a wonderful variety of poetry they treated us to, we the audience of family, friends, poets and others.

It was lovely, also, that Sheila Wakefield, the Founder and Managing Editor of Red Squirrel Press, was there in person and spoke in a most interesting and entertaining way.  The common denominator between the four poets launching books, she told us, was that she’d met them all for the first time at Sally Evans’ Callander poetry weekends in Scotland.

Also, privately, Sheila gave Maureen the thrilling news that The Waking Hour had sold out already, and was going for its 2nd printing!

Of course, Maureen was over the Moon.  So was I, though not surprised!  I knew The Waking Hour, containing 22 of her shorter poems, was bound to be a best seller.

These are not just short poems.  They’re short poems of depth, with meaning for everyone.  Short poems written in Maureen’s uniquely appealing style.  Short poems crafted to perfection.

Here, reproduced with Maureen’s permission, is the title poem:

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The Waking Hour

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Take heed I tell you

moments of truth are in the waking hour.

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Though my brain may be sozzled with sleep

truth speaks without a tongue.

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Maureen Weldon

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Have a great weekend everyone, and take care.

Paul

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

Poem Copyright © Maureen Weldon 2021

Blo͞o Outlier Journal, Issue #2

The second issue of Blo͞o Outlier Journal came out on 31st July 2021, and how amazing this Summer issue is.  Very different from Issue #1, published on Christmas Eve 2020 (see my post of 10th January 2021), but equally brilliant.

For this second issue, there were two special guest co-editors, Grix and Kat Lehmann, along with Editor in Chief Alan Summers.  Poets were asked to each submit a single haibun (or tanka story, kyoka story or zuihitsu).

The result was a galaxy of marvels, varying greatly in length, form, style and subject matter, some that made me pause for thought, some that made me smile, some that made me laugh out loud.  Some from poets I was delighted to meet for the first time, others from luminaries of the haikai genre whose work I knew well.

My darling partner Maureen Weldon is in it with a deeply thought-provoking surreal haibun titled ‘Slices of Pandemic’. 

My own contribution is the following haibun about a sandstorm I experienced some years ago at Talacre Beach, Point of Ayr, North Wales.

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. On impulse

………………………………………….ready meals

                                                          in a fridge…

                                                          woodpeckers drum

                                                                       

Wind screeching through marram grass, I scramble down dunes to the beach.  Quite why, I’m not sure. A vicious sandstorm is blowing, the raging sea leaping in foam around the long-deserted lighthouse.

Kittiwakes tumble in the turbulence.  Tatters of sea holly sweep by.  My trousers flap and snap.  Yet curiously elated, I dive headlong into the storm.

Sand flails my face and fills my eyes.  I crunch it between my teeth.  But now, wraith-like in the blinding swirl, a figure approaches.  Female, I think…

Yes, female.  She passes without pausing within yards of my left hand.  Another poet, perhaps.

                                                         childminding…

                                                         visions conjured

                                                         in dancing words

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Paul Beech

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If you haven’t yet read this Summer issue of Blo͞o Outlier Journal, I recommend you check it out right now!

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Paul

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

Ornithological Haiku

I’ve loved birds all my life.  I’m a member of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds).  And Rob Hume’s excellent RSPB Birds of Britain and Europe (DK revised edition 2006) is always at my elbow.

I was delighted to have a pair of ornithological haiku published in Blithe Spirit: journal of the British Haiku Society, Volume 31 Number 2, May 2021, edited by Caroline Skanne, and will post them below.

The setting for the first was the brook running through the ancient forest of Wepre (nowadays known as Wepre Park, Flintshire), where, in 1157, The Battle of Ewloe was fought, with a large Norman-English army led by Henry II roundly defeated by the native Welsh forces of Prince Owain ap Gruffod (Owain the Great).

The setting of the second was the old dock near Flint Castle.

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HAIKU

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a woodland brook

once red with battle blood…

dippers dip

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last light

the slipstream of swallows

over my shoulder

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Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

E equals MC squared?

Hi folks,

I thought today I’d share another haibun about my very special “Kid Bro”.

My best friend always, we had such happy times together when young.  Holidaying with our family, we’d often visit amusement arcades, and what fun that was! 

Sadly, once so brilliant, he has dementia now.  He’s in a care home down south but I keep in regular contact by phone.  And sometimes, just sometimes, I’m able to revive a memory or two of those good old bygone days…

My haibun below was published in the May 2021 issue of Failed Haiku, edited by Mike Rehling.

Have a good Sunday, everyone, and take care,

Paul

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E equals MC squared?

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I need another rubber duck down to win a prize.  But I’m sure this gun has a dodgy sight.  I squeeze the trigger gently, and miss.  That’s me done.  Now where’s my kid bro got to?  Neil Sedaka’s ‘Calendar Girl’ is booming out above the clatter of slot-machines.

Ah, there he is, working his system.  He pulls the one-armed-bandit’s one arm, wins another jackpot and scoops up his cash.  He’s a genius, Kid Bro, a mathematical genius.  Even finding a flaw in Einstein’s ‘Theory of Relativity’, to the total bafflement of his maths teacher.

Ricky Nelson is singing ‘Hello Mary Lou’ as we exit the amusements arcade, myself broke, Kid Bro clinking coppers and silver.

He buys me an ice cream.

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long years on a care home

vague recognition

in his one good eye

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Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

fun-ku

Hi folks,

I thought today I’d share three senryu written with a grin on my face!

I always find haikai forms enriching to write, whether a long haibun or a one-line haiku.  But how refreshing it is to relive a humorously happy experience in a short verse – a fun-ku, as I think of them.

Number (1) was published in the April 2021 issue of brass bell: a haiku journal, curated by Zee Zahava, and relates to my Fenland glider flight (with an instructor) some years ago, when I dived from 3000 feet over Crowland, where one of my brothers lives – an exhilarating experience.

Number (2) is in the June 2021 issue of brass bell and recalls a gym exercise from 60 years back, when I was in my school gymnastics team.  It’s a rather cheeky verse, as you’ll see!

Number (3) is in the June 2021 issue of failed haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, edited by Mike Rehling, and relates to a magic trick I’ve performed when entertaining young grandchildren…

Have a great Sunday, everyone.  And a Happy Father’s Day to all dads!

Take care,

Paul

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(1)

three thousand feet . . .
now I bank the glider
and dive

(2)

a schoolboy gymnast
I climb the long rope
to ping the brass bell

(3)

telekinesis

grandad’s magic tricks

when childminding

Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog, May 21st, 2021

Hi Folks,

Well, it’s a pretty grim evening here on Halkyn Mountain, with drizzle-mist hazing the estuary below.  But grim, I certainly am not.  Anything but. I feel honoured as Charlotte Digregorio is today featuring my haibun ‘The Clock’ on her wonderful Writer’s Blog.

Of all my haibun, this one matters to me especially, being about a very special younger brother of mine.

Here’s a link, if you’d care to check it out:

 The Clock by Paul Beech | Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog (wordpress.com)

My very best,

Paul

Tempus Fugit

Hi Folks,

Well, it’s a gorgeous Sunday morning here on Halkyn Mountain, the estuary gleaming gold below, welsh poppies in bloom at the back.  Just right for a trip down Memory Lane… to 1951.

Of course, plumbing the depths of memory to write about an occasion in early childhood just as it was, is no easy matter.  The blurry bits in particular!  But with my second attempt at recreating one such occasion, I believe I pulled it off pretty well.

My haibun below was published in the April 2021 issue of failed haiku: A journal of English Senryu, edited by Bryan Rickert.

Hope you enjoy it.

Take care, all.

Paul

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TEMPUS FUGIT

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Seven decades have flown since our trip north to meet Den. I was four years old; my kid bro a toddler, forever sucking a Virol-dipped dummy. Mum and Dad were both in their 20s still.

Den was an old pal of Dad’s. Whether from the RAF or the pre-war aero-modelling club, I’m not sure. A sallow, wiry chap in a tank-top, he pumped Dad’s hand and showed us in. The place was dingy, cramped and stank of cigarette smoke.

Mum wrinkling her nose, we boys sitting quietly, Dad and Den reminisced in a bantering, matey sort of way. It was a relief when Den’s wife placed a pot of tea and plate of sandwiches on the table.

Afterwards we were led out through a ramshackle rear porch into a wilderness of foxgloves and hollyhocks. Upon a tree-stump, stood a cage. And peering through the mesh, a pair of brown-and-white ferrets.

I thought they looked cute but was stopped in my tracks by Den. I mustn’t poke, he shouted. They were savage creatures and would have my fingers off in seconds.

Kid bro began to cry and Mum shot a look at Dad. He nodded. It was time to go.

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wildlife

an early fascination

he sketches

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Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

Down South

Morning folks, and a very Happy May Bank Holiday to all in the UK and Republic of Ireland.  Fingers crossed the weather bucks up.  It’s a misty, drizzly morning here on Halkyn Mountain.

Last weekend, I joined my sister and we made the long journey south by road, to visit our brother with dementia at the care home he’s in.

We weren’t allowed indoors owing to Covid restrictions, but he was brought outside so we could talk to him in a safe, socially-distanced way.

It was painful to see our much-loved brother, once a top inventor in the television field, so frail and bent now, his speech indistinct.  But those smiles he gave… they truly touched our hearts.

Here’s a tanka I wrote about him a while back.  It was published in Blithe Spirit, Volume 31, Number 1, February 2021.

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TANKA

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his voice on the breeze

my bro with

dementia…

childhood memories

only I hold now

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Paul Beech

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Take care, all.

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021