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January 17, 2016

Poetry workshops are all the rage these days and certainly there are many good things to be said for them. But personally I’m not keen.  I don’t like writing on the spot to given prompts.  I’ll sometimes write on a theme for a specific purpose, undertaking necessary research and allowing plenty of time for thought before beginning.  That’s a different case.  Generally I find that the real stuff comes in its own sweet way, in its own good time, often at the most inconvenient moment.  I’ve jumped out of showers or pulled into motorway service stations to scribble things down!

That said, I did write three poems at a Cross-Border Poets workshop at Theatre Clywd, Mold, the other night. And enjoyed it a lot, thanks to our excellent facilitator, Robbie Burton.  Here are two of them, both true, the first very sad, the second in a happier vein…




Black night of rain,

theatre reflections,

warm waves of chatter.


Reports of a suicide,

glasses abandoned half-full.


Paul Beech 




Buried with mothballs at the bottom of the chest,

an old blue uniform from the war,

an RAF uniform with two stripes,

my dad’s.


Taller than my dad but still a boy,

I’d put it on and dream

of faraway battles and bravery.


In one pocket a packet of letters

from his sweetheart my mum

and his own tiny mother,

words I was never meant to read,

secrets I was never meant to know.


I’d replace the uniform carefully,

mothballs and all.


No one was ever the wiser.


Paul Beech 



Copyright © Paul Beech 2016




From → General, Poetry

  1. Your poetry always stirs my soul Paul. I believe at moments like that, spur of the moment. That person, place or thing is there with you, weather awake or asleep. Always on the edge of the universe.
    The first one although tragic is a person, perhaps the words lead to his beacon of light.

    The second a warm hug from a dad that was so proud of your honorable ways.

    Warm Regards,

    Pat :o)

    • Thanks Pat, such a lovely, encouraging, sustaining comment. I only wish that stranger in the rain had a friend like you. Your warmth and humour and good sense come over strongly in the tales you tell on your blog, The Writer’s Desk, definitely one of my favourite places on the web.

      Ah, my dear Dad – yes, he was proud of me; I know that for sure because he likened me to my wonderful Grandad Dawson, a First World War hero, decorated for bravery, who went on to become a chief inspector of police in civvy street. I shall always remember my parents and grandparents with love and pride.

      Warmest wishes, take care,


  2. Yes Paul, the three poems you wrote at Cross Border Poets, Theatre Clwyd workshop were very good. now you can never say again, that you can’t write a good poem in a poetry workshop!

    All my love,

    Maureen x

    • Thank you my darling Maureen! I’m afraid I still feel ambivalent about workshops and doubt I’ll ever be very keen. But what wonderful stuff you’ve written in workshops yourself, with later polishing at home – your Rhydymwyn poems, of course; more recently ‘Sink and the Great House’ (now accepted by Crannóg). And just last week, ‘Theatre,’ in which you express your feelings about being a dancer on stage so eloquently that I’m almost up there with you, though my blundering footwork would wreck any ballet! Not forgetting your hilarious monologue ‘Open House’ – I’ll always love that one; you have the comedic gift for sure.

      With very much love,

      Paul xxx

  3. I can sympathize about workshops. I attended many of those, in and around New England in my salad days, always thinking that I ought to be doing that as a way to learn to write poetry. As it turns out, I love to learn but I hate being taught. I always came away with a bad taste in the mouth. I guess I think of poetry composition as a solitary activity, and the finished (is it ever finished?) poem the thing to share socially. The interjection of other people into the creative process stymied me.

    At any rate, I enjoyed reading these three poems very much!

    • Dear Cynthia, we seem to be much in accord here. Writing is a solitary activity for me too, the real stuff anyway. I have to get into my zone and dig deep.

      That said, stuff written in workshops can be worked on later, with maybe a decent poem or two emerging. Maybe I’ll try another one sometime – but I’m not in a hurry!

      No snow here on Deeside yet but I know you’ve had some your way. Keep warm. Take care.


  4. I understand the feeling. I am already a chronic overthinker, so I prefer to go with what appears from the edges of my imagination. Having said that, you’re a published poet, so I imagine that your process has been most effective. xo

    • Hi Sabiscuit, I wrote a poem the other day which I’m hoping will be set to music. My inspiration was a Victorian oil painting viewed at the Lady Lever Art Gallery, Port Sunlight. I simply let the idea roll around in my head for a couple of weeks, until it was worked out well enough for me to put on paper. I often work this way but not always. We simply have to use whatever methods suit us best individually.

      Enjoy your writing.


      • Thank you for sharing your method. I hope you will be able to set your poem to music. Have a great Monday, Paul. xo

  5. Thanks, Sabiscuit. My poem is called ‘Could Have Been Us,’ and I wrote it for an upcoming Chester Poets project involving a composer, who will write music to be performed by members of a symphony orchestra at a festival in the summer. Should be fun!

    Enjoying your sassy, refreshing blog!


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