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Skins

I thought today I’d post a haibun unlike any other I’ve written.  It was published in the February 2020 issue of Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu.

The theme for this issue, as set by the guest editors, Kelly Sauvage Angel and Tanya McDonald, was a curious one: “Secret Loves and Guilty Pleasures”.

I had to think awhile over this one.  Then I had an idea…

 

SKINS

 

I twirl my hickory sticks, brush cymbals and snare, now bring in toms and bass, drizzle becoming thunder as I lead Jimi into the ‘Purple Haze’ of my wet room shower on high…

Back in the early-50s, a young kid, I was given to humming at meal times.  Then Mum told me off for it, so I took up finger-drumming instead.  Poor Mum.

My lifelong love of drums had begun, not that I was ever taught to play.

Ah, the drum solos I’ve performed whilst shaving, sticks a blur, hi-hat stitching through the rampant rhythm of the skins, as we take off, the band and I, take off on a tail of flame…

There never was a drum kit of course.  Nor a band.  Nor any audience to give a standing ovation as I dabbed aftershave on my chin.  Shame.

I finger-drum

the coffee table

grandchildren march

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Thank you, NHS!

At 8 pm last night, Thursday 26th March 2020, Maureen and I, standing under our front porch in Pentre Halkyn, joined in the nationwide round of applause to thank our wonderful NHS for the tireless work they are doing to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and relieve suffering.

Three cheers for all you amazing doctors, nurses and other staff!  We are truly proud of you.

Paul Beech

Tanka (her voice lingers…)

Watching the sun rise over the Dee Estuary this quiet Sunday morning, I remember Cynthia Jobin, the wonderful American poet who died of cancer in December 2016.

I was an avid follower of her blog, littleoldladywho, and she was kind enough to follow me here at Grandy’s Landing, often commenting in a most thoughtful and supportive way.

Dear Cynthia, how I miss her poetry and friendship.

Below is a tanka I wrote after revisiting her blog some months ago.  It was published in Blithe Spirit (Volume 30, Number 1) in February 2020.

 

TANKA

 

her voice lingers still

in the cyber silence

of her blog

three years on

as I trawl old posts

 

Paul Beech

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

 

The Pole

THE POLE

 

I could do it,

I could walk along the pole,

the old telegraph pole

that lay on the ground.

 

Arms wide for balance,

one foot gingerly placed

in front of the other,

grandchildren following,

giggling,

 

I could walk the pole,

the old telegraph pole

on the ground.

 

Half-covered in moss

and fallen leaf,

the pole is rotten now,

yet still I glimpse

their nimble spirits

briefly.

 

Paul Beech

 

First published in the author’s collection Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose (Cestrian Press, 2016)

 

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020

 

The Mason

My last post, ‘Flood Rescue’ on 26th January, was a haibun featuring my wonderful Grandad Dawson in old age.  Today I should like you to meet him as a boy and young man.  My haibun below was published in the December 2019 issue of Failed Haiku:

THE MASON

Chippings fly from the chisel’s point with every ringing stroke of the hammer.  He’s carving kerbstones from basalt down the quarry, just twelve years old, a slim lad with blue eyes.  His father has put him here to work long hours and hand over his pay.  A skilled mason he is too, and a jolly good job as the foreman is not above raising a stick.

The year is 1905.

calloused hands

no pot of porter

his reward

Time has flown and the mason now sports a ginger tache.  It’s 1916 and the Battle of the Somme rages in France, he serving as a Bombardier with the Royal Garrison Artillery.

The mason shares a dugout with a Birmingham boy.  They exchange rations, strike matches to burn off lice from each other’s uniform, play poker, tell of their sweethearts back home.  Soon now, letters written, a good dram or two warming their bellies, zero hour signalled by a shrill whistle blown, they’ll go over the top together, bayonets fixed…

Tonight though, the mason goes alone, stealthy in shadow.  Below a wooded rise he fires two rounds from his mortar.  The Jerry machine-gunners, having claimed many a Tommy’s life, will claim no more.

medals agleam

in the risen sun

we salute

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019, 2020

 

Flood Rescue

It’s a drizzly grey morning up here on our Welsh mountain.  And remembering another rainy day long ago, I thought I’d post a haibun of mine featuring a wonderful man who was a major influence on me through the first 29 years of my life: my Grandad Dawson.

The greatest compliment ever paid me was from my late dad when he told me I was very like Grandad Dawson.

My haibun ‘Flood Rescue’, published in the November 2019 issue of Blithe Spirit, tells a true story I’d long wanted to write. Hope you like it.

Have a good Sunday, Everyone.

Paul

 

FLOOD RESCUE

 

Now, as then, rain pelts the windscreen, hazing my view.  An unnamed road curves towards the village church, its proud tower defying the elements.

Now, as then, between stone walls strangled in ivy, the unnamed road is flooded a foot deep.  Murky water spills from a swamped pasture and overflows a hidden brook.

Fifty years ago, my dad was driving, I sitting next to him.  Today, I am driving, my partner sitting next to me.

Then, a dove grey Vauxhall Victor with column gear-change stood abandoned in the flooded road, water up to its doors.  Today, the unnamed road is closed with flood signs and there are no abandoned vehicles.

Fifty years ago, the Victor’s owner stood sheltering beneath the overhanging frontage of a half-timbered pub opposite the church.  Today, I see him only in memory, but vividly.  He was standing as if to attention in his dark overcoat and pale trilby, patiently waiting for us.  A veteran of the Great War, decorated for bravery in the trenches, later a Chief Inspector of police, he was my grandad.

Dad and I, we took him home.  And some years later I inherited the dove grey Victor with column gear-change.

Today, I tell the tale again to my partner, and she smiles.

my stalactite

in a matchbox…

that early trip in his car

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019, 2020

Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog, January 13, 2020

Hi Folks,

Well, what a cracking start the New Year has got off to for me!  My poem ‘Mothballs’ is today featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.

Written in January 2016 and first published in my collection Twin Dakotas: poetry and  prose (Cestrian Press, 2016), ‘Mothballs’ is a fond memory from my early teens roughly sixty years ago.

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

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/01/12/blog-special-free-verse-by-paul-beech-wales/#comments

Wishing you all a great 2020,

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020