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Blo͞o Outlier Journal

Christmas 2020 was unlike any other we’ve ever known.  Christmas in lockdown!  But here on Halkyn Mountain, Wales, with a little light snow from time to time lending a seasonal touch, we had a grand old Yuletide, Maureen and I.  A super chicken dinner on Christmas Day with best brandy and a traditional fruit cake, which she’d baked.

And the festivities could hardly have got off to a better start for us than with the online publication, on Christmas Eve, of the fabulous first issue of Blo͞o Outlier Journal, edited by top UK haikai poet Alan Summers.

A beefy journal it certainly is, running to 131 pages.  The amazing artwork and photography fairly leap from the page to perfectly compliment the brilliant poetry.  A most exciting and inspirational journal it is too, believe me!

And how honoured we feel, Maureen and I, to have a senryu each included in this inaugural issue.  Many thanks to the founding-editor Alan Summers.  Under his expert editorship, I’m sure Blo͞o Outlier Journal will go far.

Here’s my poem.  It’s on page 114, adjacent a street corner snap of an amusingly hand-painted sign on a rough white wall, advertising a café…

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covid corner

large ladies without masks

talk gherkins

.

Paul Beech

.

And here’s Maureen’s.  It’s on page 115, alongside an indoor shot of artistically arranged books on a white shelf…

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reading your work

I slip

into your skin

.

Maureen Weldon

***

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, peaceful New Year.

Take care,

Paul

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2021

Tanka (a lad of nine)

Well, not long to go to the big day now, folks.  Exciting perhaps, though this’ll not be like any Christmas we’ve known before.  Can’t be of course with Covid, that deadly pathogen, on the prowl.  Keeping safe and well must be the priority for this year.

Isolating on our Welsh mountainside, I often find myself drawn back in memory to my 1950s childhood in a Lancashire pit and mill town.  All our Christmases were white ones then, surely…  And today I’d like to post a tanka of mine from Blithe Spirit, Volume 30, Number 4, November 2020.  A tanka that tells a true story from those distant days.

Maureen has baked a Christmas cake lightly laced with brandy.  And I can’t wait for a slice!

Wishing you all a healthy Happy Christmas and New Year,

Paul 

***

TANKA

.

a lad of nine

I cast her in plaster

a flamenco dancer for Gran…

decades on

that peck on my cheek wet still

.

Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Ring

Hi folks,

I’m proud and delighted that my darling partner Maureen Weldon has a poem featured today on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.

Her poem, ‘Ring’, was first published in Atrium on Valentine’s Day 2020.  But it’s certainly not the usual type of Valentine’s poem…

Do check it out!  Here’s a link:

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/11/21/free-verse-by-maureen-weldon-3/#comments

Have a good Sunday, everyone, and take care.

Paul

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Matchmaking

Hi folks,

I thought today I’d post the shortest haibun I’ve ever written!  ‘Matchmaking’ was published in the September 2020 issue of Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu, edited by Mike Rehling.

This was a haibun only issue.  But they had to be SHORT haibun, the prose part a maximum of 50 words or so.

The occasion described would have been in ’64, when I was a gangly 17 year old.  It would be a year or two yet before I started dating.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.  And take care.

Paul

***

MATCHMAKING

.

With her Hepburn look and my Elvis quiff, we might have made a couple.  So our mums hoped anyway.  Trouble was, the fancying…there was none!  Which didn’t stop us having a blast that one time I went round. 

Bopping out of sync, we laughed like crazy.  And pitied our matchmaker mums.

sweet peas…

long years on

the scent of desperation

.

Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

The Clock

My haibun below concerns a very special clock.  And, more importantly, a very special younger brother, whose enduring friendship matters to me hugely.  The occasion described was nine years ago.

It was published in the August 2020 issue of Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu.

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THE CLOCK

.

He’s here with me now, my kid bro from the south.  A brilliant inventor, patents registered, top prizes won.  Until stricken with early dementia.

We’re in North Wales, not far from the sea, at a Fabrics and Haberdashery store.  Sitting outside, whiling away the hour.  Despite his mind’s slow waning, he’s fascinated still by devices.

11:45, not long to go.  I take him in.  And climbing the stairs, point out the cast iron weights on wires.  Already we hear the tick, tick, tick of ratchet and pawl.

Reaching the Fabrics Hall, we turn.  And there, on the wall above the stairwell, in all its brassy glory, sits the clock, green bob pendulum swinging.

Gingham, velvet, poly-cotton.  Women sneak curious glances in our direction, quickly turning aside.

Twelve times, the bell rings out to the rafters.

He’s here with me now, my kid bro from the south.  And his eyes shine.

our past lives

in box brownie snaps

two boys on stilts

.

Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog, October 23rd 2020

Hi Folks,

I’m delighted that a tanka of mine is today featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.

Tanka is a favourite poetry form of mine.  And this one was an especial joy to write.

Do please check it out.  Here’s a link:

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/10/23/tanka-by-paul-beech/#comments

Stay safe, keep well,

Paul

Kids Live @ 5

Thursday 1st October 2020 was National Poetry Day here in the UK, our annual celebration of all things poetic, aimed at encouraging people to read, enjoy and share poetry. 

To mark the occasion retrospectively, Lymm Radio (Cheshire) wished to make poetry the theme for their Sunday children’s show ‘Kids Live @ 5’ with a poet interview included.

Well, following a recommendation, they got TWO poets, myself and my darling partner Maureen Weldon!

Being rather different types of poet, with different perspectives, would make for a good interview, we hoped.  And so it proved when pre-recorded with a bright 8-year old boy called Monty asking the questions under his mum’s supervision.

The programme aired on Sunday 4th October, which just happened to be Maureen’s birthday!  And, gosh, what a lovely, lively show it was, ‘Kids Live @ 5’.  We found ourselves singing along to the ‘Autumn Leaves’ song, and much enjoyed hearing talented children reading their own poems.

Our interview included a poem each from Maureen and me, her lovely poem ‘A Present for Dad’ from Cats Cats Cats, (an anthology, Cestrian Press, 2013), and my children’s poem ‘The Chase’ from The Creative Freedom of The Mind, (an anthology, Cliftonbooks, 2020). 

But the icing on Maureen’s birthday cake came at the end of our interview when a favourite song was played for her: ‘All You Need Is Love’ by The Beatles…

Many thanks to all at Lymm Radio for having us on the show.

~~~

Here’s the poem I read:

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THE CHASE

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The wind

blows Dad’s cap off

and we chase it through dung

in a stinky field of big pigs

until

crazy brown leaves

spinning through a farmyard

flip the cap back

                         on Dad’s bald head,

just so.

.

Paul Beech

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Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Tanka (“beneath the falls”)

Getting on a bit now, I often look back to those long-lost days when I was a young dad.  And my tanka below recalls a happy memory from 1977, when I took my two elder daughters, then aged 4 and 2, to Dyserth Falls, near Rhyl in North Wales.

Here the River Ffyddion falls roaring down a 70-foot gully, a spectacular sight, on its way to join the River Clwyd.  You can imagine my young daughters’ excitement!

I’m delighted that my poem is included in LOVE, the British Haiku Society’s recently published 30th Anniversary Members’ Tanka Anthology, 1990 – 2020, edited by AA Marcoff.

Have a good Sunday, everyone.

Paul

TANKA

beneath the falls

rainbow spray

a child in each arm

held high…

the dad I was

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2020

Midnight Robin

Hi Folks,

My partner Maureen Weldon has just had a free-verse poem featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s wonderful Writer’s Blog.

Maureen is a former professional ballet dancer with the Irish Theatre Ballet.  Since the latter 80s though, she has been a popular, widely published, prize-winning poet.

Although Irish, from Cork, Maureen has been UK based for many years, and in October 2014 she was the Welsh representative at Terra Poetica, the international poetry festival in Ukraine.

Her featured poem is ‘Midnight Robin’, the title poem of her much loved 2014 Poetry Space pamphlet, and I thought you might like to read it to experience for yourselves her charmingly distinctive poetic voice.  So here’s a link:

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2020/09/01/free-verse-by-maureen-weldon-2/#comments

Cheers, everyone – my very best,

Paul

Larkton Hill

Gosh, what a sunrise this morning!  From our home on the side of Halkyn Mountain, I can see clear across the dazzlingly golden Dee Estuary below and the Wirral peninsula beyond…

Anyway, here’s another poem from my poetry and prose collection Twin Dakotas published by Cestrian Press in 2016.

Larkton Hill is a part of Bickerton Hill at the southern end of the Mid-Cheshire Ridge, with the earthworks of ancient Maiden Castle at its summit.

But my poem is about rather more than that…

Have a Good Sunday, everyone.

Paul

 

LARKTON HILL

 

Steep is this track I climb

hand-in-hand with my love,

our friend leading the way

up this wooded shoulder of sandstone,

her jolly dog Spot racing by,

a skitter of paws in golden leaf.

 

Steep is this track of tangled briars,

mossy green boulders,

the flash of a jay,

milky mist threading through birch, holly, oak,

as far below lies the old life

where my ghost must reside in photographs hidden,

spoons in a drawer the wrong way round,

a certain chair claimed by others.

 

Steep was the climb to this high heath

of heather, scrub, adders,

buzzards aloft,

where we lunch on a log,

Spot, ears pricked, forepaw raised,

as the Iron Age ghosts of Maiden Castle

call me down.

 

Steep was the climb to this summons rejected,

sun breaking through over distant hills,

bright blood hot in my veins,

bubbling mirth,

an accidental selfie,

no ghost at all

as I claim this new life.

 

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2016, 2020