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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

In Loco Parentis

Gosh, what a glorious Sunday morning it is here on Halkyn Mountain, a dazzling sun boring through overcast to illuminate the mountainside and estuary below.  And how strange it is, in a pleasurable way, to look back six decades to my first year in employment as a 15 year old boy, when I worked with a true master of the electrician’s trade.

Sadly he would live only a few years more, though never to be forgotten by his grateful apprentice…

My haibun below was published in the November 2020 issue of failed haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, guest-edited by Roberta Beary.

***

In Loco Parentis

I passed the spot again the other day, driving the old coast road. There on the left, that gap in the tangle of bough and briar…

Back in ’62, this was where, having arrived by train, Joe and I would begin our heathland hike to the Great Hall.

Twenty minutes at a brisk pace would bring us to the Hall in all its faded Jacobean majesty. Whenever electrical work was needed here, Joe would be sent for. I was his apprentice, a 15 year old boy. Joe was entrusted with my care though he’d stand no messing, that was for sure.

A perfectionist he was, old Joe. And perfection is what he demanded of me. If I were an eighth of an inch out in drilling a wooden pattress block for a switch or socket, he’d fling it down to smash on the stone floor.

Often though, in quiet moments, Joe would burst into song. Trouble was, it would always be the same song, always the same verse too: ‘The Floral Dance’, verse 6. I’d even find the words on my own lips, unbidden.

I still do occasionally, passing that spot on the old coast road.

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missile crisis

how we sweated through

those days of terror

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Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020, 2021

Charlotte Digregorio’s Daily Haiku 3rd April 2021

Hi Folks,

It was a huge thrill on Thursday 1st April to be published for the first time in brass bell: a haiku journal, surely one of the best journals of its kind on the web.  Zee Zahava, the editor, selected two of my senryu for this issue, the theme for which was HAPPINESS.

And today Charlotte Digregorio is featuring one of these on her wonderful Daily Haiku.  To say I’m chuffed would be something of an understatement!

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

Daily Haiku: April 3, 2021 | Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog (wordpress.com)

Happy Easter, everyone, and take care,

Paul

Tanka (“coconut palms…”)

Gosh, what a glorious spring morning it is here, on Halkyn Mountain.  So peaceful, still and sunny.  Just the merest trace of mist hazing the estuary below.  A blackbird singing somewhere. 

A perfect morning for me to post another of my tanka from The Helping Hand Haiku Anthology edited by the renowned haiku poet and anthologist Robert Epstein and published last year by Middle Island Press.

The theme for this anthology (which includes senryu, tanka and haiga) was helping, kindness and care.

The old lady in my tanka was my precious mum.  Sadly she suffered Alzheimer’s during the last years of her life but was well looked after in a wonderful Welsh care home, where many of the kind carers were bright young women from the Philippines.  My dear dad, although frail and elderly, would visit her daily whatever the weather.

Mum passed away in 2006 aged 81; Dad in 2012 aged 89.

Have a good Sunday, everyone, and take care.

Paul

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TANKA

coconut palms

in her smile

she spoon-feeds

the old lady

in the corner

Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020, 2021

On a misty river morning…

On this quiet Sunday morning, with a light mist hazing the Dee Estuary below our Welsh mountain home, I shall, as promised, share with you two more of my experimental works recently published in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu.

These are my musings-and-music themed double monoku and my inner-city crime themed haibun.  They appeared together in the journal’s February issue, edited by Bryan Rickert.

It’s good to experiment a bit, isn’t it?  Especially when things work out!

I should just mention that the haibun, overly dramatic as it might seem, is actually perfectly true in all respects except one – the 1980s inner-city area was NOT called CW9.

Take greatest care, everyone, and have a lovely day.

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decoding the cipher of life he downs another dram

                                                                            river dawn his song on her lips

CW9

I’m a marked man. Have received death threats, been held at knife-point. We’re all marked men or women here. The Incident Book would make a best seller.

The year is ’83 and CW9 is the toughest patch in the city. Drugs, prostitution, muggings, murder. Few could cope with it. But we are those few. Hand-picked for our skills, our nerve. An elite squad, you could say. “The 9-ers.”

Another report. Another coffee. I’m late away, always late away.

Check the outside camera for shadows in shadow. Check I’m buttoned tight, nothing for thugs to snatch hold of. Then out, and straight to the car.

Passing the cemetery I check my mirrors. Just in case…

schoolboy japes my daughters beg a story

Paul Beech

On a grey mountain morning…

Hi Folks,

On this grey morning here on Halkyn Mountain, Wales, my thoughts turn to… experimentation!

As a haiku poet, I’m keen to develop my work in positive ways.  And I’ve been doing just this with experimental work in each of the last three issues of Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, as follows:

Firstly, a Halloween themed senryu + monoku pairing in the December 2020 issue, edited by Bryan Rickert.  (This gave me an opportunity to write a micro-ghost story!)

Secondly, a dementia themed senryu + monoku pairing in the January 2021 issue, edited by Mike Rehling. 

And thirdly, two pieces in the February 2021 issue, edited by Bryan Rickert: a musings-and-music themed double monoku plus an inner city crime themed haibun.

Let’s give the first a miss until Halloween comes round again.  The double monoku and inner city haibun, I’ll share with you soon.  But today, with dementia an issue close to my heart for family reasons, I’m posting my piece on that theme…

Have a good Sunday, everyone, and take care,

Paul

A senryu + monoku pairing

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old now

the speech of a distant shire

on his tongue

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a mistle thrush in mist he battles dementia

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Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021