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Charlotte Digregorio’sWriter’s Blog July 31st, 2020

Dear All,

I’m delighted that my triolet ‘Steeple’ is today featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.

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

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/07/31/triolet-by-paul-beech/#comments

My very best,

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Steeple

Today, Sunday 26th July, is the birthday of a special younger brother of mine, one who has been my best friend since childhood despite, through our adult years, living over 200 miles away, down south.  Sadly, he’s now in a care home.

 

Thinking of my “kid bro” today (yes, he’ll always be that to me though we’re both in our 70s now!), I can’t resist posting a short poem about him, a triolet written following his winter visit to my home a decade ago, when I lived in a mid-Cheshire village above the Weaver Valley.

 

The steeple in question belonged to St. John the Evangelist’s Church, Winsford, on the southern horizon across the river.

 

My poem was finally published a couple of years ago in Reflections magazine, Issue 105.

 

STEEPLE

 

Landmark, lifemark, the steeple of St John’s.

Pausing, we hear the bells faintly in snow.

Down the chill river, destiny beckons.

Landmark, lifemark, the steeple of St John’s.

Pals all our lives, we’re the lucky ones,

Tramping the valley top, me and my Bro.

Landmark, lifemark, the steeple of St John’s.

Pausing, we hear the bells faintly in snow…

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

 

Flash Memoirs

A book I’ve especially enjoyed dipping into over the last couple of years is one launched at the Callander Poetry Weekend 2018, sadly the last of those wonderful annual events hosted by Sally Evans of King’s Bookshop.  Autumn Voices, from Playspace Publications, edited by Robin Lloyd-Jones, is a collection of Lloyd Jones’ interviews with writers over the age of 70 living in Scotland.

Recently, our good friend, the Scottish author and poet Morelle Smith, contacted Maureen and myself about an exciting new opportunity on Robin Lloyd-Jones’ Autumn Voices website for anyone who is a member (membership free), a flash memoir project running from July to October (initially), with a different theme for each month.  A maximum of 350 words per memoir.

Maureen and I signed up quick-sharpish; we both submitted for the 1970s themed July section, and we were thrilled a few days ago when our flash memoirs were published.  Maureen’s is called ‘A Great Memory’.  Mine is called ‘Lunching’.

Below is a link to the site, if you’d care to check out our flash memoirs along with the others:

https://autumnvoices.co.uk/projects-publications/flash-memoir-project/flash-memoir-project-entries/.

Many thanks, Morelle, for telling us about the project.  And a big thank you to the editors too for publishing our work.

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog July 15, 2020

Dear All,

I’m delighted that my haibun ‘The Prayer Book’ is today featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.

It was the event related in this haibun that would, many years on, convince me of my purpose in life…

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

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/07/15/haibun-by-paul-beech/#comments

My very best,

Paul

Tanka (Lathering Up)

One morning back in March, a week before our UK lockdown began, I found that my shaving foam had run out.  So I switched to good old fashioned shaving soap, applied with a brush.  And what a happy memory it evoked…

My tanka below was published in Blithe Spirit, Journal of the British Haiku Society, Volume 30, Number 2, May 2020.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.  A great Summer Solstice.  And a wonderful Father’s Day, all you dads out there – I’m hoping for a few treats myself…

Take care, stay healthy,

Paul

 

TANKA

 

I lather up

and she smiles remembering

the day I moved in

when she gave me this brush

like her dad’s

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

The Best Way

Here’s a poem I wrote back in October 2015 following a visit to Parkgate on the Wirral Peninsula with Maureen, my partner.  We enjoyed a bag of the best fish and chips ever!

Overlooking the Dee Estuary, Parkgate village was once a major port before the river silted up and is famous for its association with Emma, Lady Hamilton, Lord Nelson’s mistress.  Nowadays the vast saltmarsh is of great interest to bird watchers for its rich variety of wildfowl, waders and raptors.

‘The Best Way’ was included in my debut collection Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose (Cestrian Press, 2016) and subsequently published in Reflections magazine, Issue 103.  But the time has now come for it to have a fresh airing, I think.

Just hope it won’t be too long before lockdown is eased sufficiently for us to go and sample the wonderful fish and chips again…

 

THE BEST WAY

 

Why that way, towards the hills,

towards that blinding line as the sun sets,

skein after skein, honking?

Why not out across the sea?

I walk the Old Quay, wondering.

 

Waders cry in the flashing fire of the saltmarsh.

The glowing sandstone of the low wall

thrums with ancient knowledge.

Yet it is in your high-altitude honking

I find an answer:

 

Instinct, trust in instinct, it’s the best way…

 

I take her hand in mine

and we sing.

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

 

Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog, 11th May 2020

Hi Folks,

How thrilled I always am when a poem of mine is featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.  And today my free verse poem ‘The Unforgiven’ is up, a poem stemming from a difficult period in my life.  It was published in Further Within Darkness & Light, from Nothing Books, 2018, compiled by Paul B. Morris, an anthology with proceeds donated to MIND, the leading UK mental health charity.

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

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/05/11/free-verse-by-paul-beech/#respond

Keep safe and well, everyone.

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Pendemic, 6th May 2020

Hi Folks,

I’ve just had a longish haibun published in Pendemic, an online journal for new writing arising from this weirdly desperate time of Covid-19.

My haibun, ‘The Park Keeper’, is a biographical piece about my late Grandad Billy.  Do please check it out here:

http://pendemic.ie/the-park-keeper-haibun-by-paul-beech/

My thanks to the Editors of Pendemic for including my work.

Keep safe and well everyone.

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

An Open Cap

My haibun below describes an encounter one stormy night in February this year, as my partner Maureen and I were walking back to our car following a meeting of Chester Poets.  It was an encounter that haunts us still.

‘An Open Cap’ was published in the March 2020 issue of Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu edited by Mike Rehling.

 

AN OPEN CAP

 

The old city is practically deserted tonight.  The storm has subsided to street corner growls, but the cold is bitter.  So bitter.  We walk.

Beneath St. Peter’s, a pile of blue and yellow blankets lie smelly on the pavement.  On top, a white woolly bonnet with ear muffs.  On the paving, an open cap, just a few coppers inside.

As we approach, the bonnet rolls back to reveal a small face.  The young woman is clearly unwell.  Her elfin features are wasted to virtual transparency, her eyes watery.

My partner drops a 50 pence piece in the cap.  The lass whispers “Thank you.”

I do the same.  Again, “Thank you.”

Now, from the fetid folds of blanket, another small face emerges: the face of a brown and white dog.  The Jack Russell stretches and the young woman pulls him close.

“He’s lovely,” says my partner.  And the poor lass smiles.

I wave, just once…

Her smile lingers in shadow as we turn away.

first flurries…

an anxious dad

checks his texts again

 

Paul Beech

 

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

 

Easter Weekend 2020

Dear All,

Well, this strangest Easter has been and gone with Maureen and I in Covid isolation here on our Welsh mountainside.  And the weather has been the strangest too, with chill winds, sea frets off the bay, drizzle, torrential rain and even a couple of claps of thunder.  So no, we haven’t been sitting out much!  Rather, it’s been phone call after text after phone call after text to family and friends, but with time for for a spot of reading and stuff too.

Our tastes in books are not identical, so some we both read, others not.

We both read the Winter 19-20 issue of Poetry Wales and especially enjoyed the work of John Freeman.

We both read, and re-read from cover to cover, our good friend Kemal Houghton’s poetry pamphlet There Will Be Dancing, fresh out from Red Squirrel Press. Familiar though his unique style is to us of course, we were amazed all over again – amazed, entertained, inspired and refreshed.  Kemal is one talented poet!  And our individual signed copies of ‘Dancing’ we shall treasure.

Maureen read other poetry books whilst I, a red hot crime fiction buff, settled down to read my old copy of Nicholas Blake’s The Private Wound.  Blake was of course the Anglo-Irish poet Cecil Day-Lewis, our UK Poet Laureate from 1968 until his death in 1972.  As Blake, he wrote the Nigel Strangeways detective novels but The Private Wound was one of his standalone works, and a brilliant novel it most certainly is.  Set in West Ireland in 1937, with “The Troubles” still a searing memory and the Second World War looming, it tells the story of a dangerous, doomed romance…

As for music… you should have seen Maureen and I bopping along to the raw raving rhythm of Electric Toadstool playing Euroboys!  It was a 1984 recording with Kemal (yes, our poet friend) playing guitar and singing his head off, his mate Ray Davies on drums.  It was Kemal who added an air raid siren and spiced up his vocals with reverb. Great fun.

Yes, it was the strangest Easter ever.

Keep safe, well and creative,

Paul

A version of this post first appeared on Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog in response to her Easter Sunday prompt ‘How Are You Finding Peace Today?’

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020