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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

 

Dancing Girl (Tanka)

Hi Folks,

Thank you for following my blog and a Happy New Year to you, one and all!

When Maureen and I were unpacking following our move here to Halkyn Mountain in the early summer last year, I came across a tattered manila folder with some of my artwork in it from many years ago, including an unfinished pencil drawing of a dancing girl…

The result was the following tanka published in Blithe Spirit, Volume 29, Number 4, November 2019:

 

TANKA

 

caught mid-swing

in my sixties sketch

she dances on

a carefree lass

in a half-drawn dress

 

Paul Beech

 

With every good wish for 2020,

Take care, Everyone,

Paul

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

 

Snowmen

I shall never forget one magical occasion, back in the very early 1950s, when my mum took me to a Santa’s grotto in our colliery and cotton town of Farnworth, Lancashire.  I would have been only 3 or 4 years old at the time.

Santa listened with a twinkle in his eye as I nervously gave him my Christmas list then promised that, so long as I was a very good boy, I wouldn’t be disappointed come the day.  I never questioned how such a very fat man, with a very fat sack, could fit down our narrow, sooty chimney!

From those days onwards, when all our Christmases were white ones (at least in memory), I’ve always loved the Festive Season.  Maybe I’m just a big kid at heart!

My senryu sequence below was published in Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, Volume 4, Issue 37, 1st January 2019, edited by Mike Rehling.

 

SNOWMEN

 

jingles

charm wallets

the festive throng sweats

 

a small card

for one once dear

measured kisses

 

diet dumped

for the season

she scoffs mince pies

 

a cardboard camper

dreams of snowmen

calls me “Sir”

 

Christmas lights flash

on tarmac…

a babe is born

 

Paul Beech

 

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

Paul

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019

Daily Haiku: December 1st, 2019

Hi Everyone,

Gosh, 1st December already; it’ll be Christmas before we know it!

And I’m delighted to report that one of my monoku recently published in Proletaria is today being featured by Charlotte Digregorio on her wonderful Daily Haiku blog.

It’s just seven syllables, so won’t take long to read if you’d care to check it out.  Here’s a link:

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2019/11/30/daily-haiku-dec-1-2019/

Have a good Sunday everyone!

Cheers,

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019

Proletaria, 21 November 2019

Hi everyone,

Back in the summer, I decided to try my hand at monoku (one-line haiku), a form I’d been interested in for some time.  I enjoyed the challenge and produced three monoku which I’m delighted to tell you have today been published in Proletaria, that excellent online journal specialising in one-liners.  So huge thanks to the editor for that.

Here’s a link, if you’d like to check them out:

https://proletaria.org/2019/11/21/three-monoku-by-paul-beech/

Cheers,

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019