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The Best Way

September 27, 2016

Here’s a poem I wrote twelve months ago, following a visit to Parkgate on the Wirral Peninsula.

Overlooking the Dee Estuary, the 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.

Maureen and I enjoyed wonderful fish and chips there!

The poem is included in my first collection, Twin Dakotas: poetry and prose.

 

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 2016

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6 Comments
  1. maureen Weldon permalink

    A very special memory, captured in a very special poem.

    To Paul, from Maureen xx

    • Thank you, my daring Maureen. But how wonderful is your own poem ’Evening at Parkgate,’ set to music by Mike Robinson with the haunting cries of oystercatchers and redshanks in the background. I’ll never tire of listening to it.

      Yours ever,

      Paul xxx

  2. Such an excellent juxtaposition of the high-altitude instinct of wildfowl and the ancient knowledge of a sandstone wall with one’s own emotion…. coming smoothly to the good and true conclusion of what is to be most trusted.
    The sound, the simple forthright rhythm of this beautiful piece—all of it hints at the possibility that this happy poem itself came from that trustworthy place. Bravo, Paul!

    • Cynthia, such a thoughtful comment as always – thank you.

      Parkgate (visited by Handel in 1742, en route to Dublin for the first performance of ‘Messiah’) is so atmospheric that the wisdom of the wild, and the saturated knowledge of ages past, seem within grasp somehow. You’ll know what I mean, I’m sure.

      Your poetry is remarkable, your blog ‘littleoldladywho’ always inspiring and instructive. I enjoy my every visit.

      Yours,

      Paul

  3. Still reading your book Paul. I read it when I get a quiet moment so I can savor the words and drink them in.
    It has been hectic here across the pond. Hubby not doing well, me with a UTI taking meds for it now and feeling a bit better. We will get back to our norm soon I hope.
    I do read each of your poems several times and get something new from them each time.

    My favorite so far is ‘Twin Dakotas’. Your dads unfaltering and everlasting love for your mum is heartwarming. Now you have found that same thing and I am sure your parents are so happy as they watch your happiness grow.
    Bye the way, I knew ‘The Best Way’ was about you and Maureen as I was reading it, and this post confirms it. I am truly happy for you both and wish you many years of happiness and laughter together. You deserve it.
    My regards to your Maureen, keep well.

    Pat

    • Dear Pat, so sorry to hear that you and Hubby are under the weather. How rotten for you. I wish you both a speedy recovery.

      Aye, we were together, Maureen and I, that time in Parkgate. We go everywhere together, and everywhere we go has a special radiance, mystery and magic precisely because we are together, soulmates true. Most recently we enjoyed visiting Llangollen in Denbighshire, where the International Musical Eisteddfod is held every July, and drove up the precipitous but stunningly beautiful Horseshoe Pass (Bwlch yr Oernant), where sheep roam the road and skylarks sing above.

      ‘Twin Dakotas’, the title poem in my book, tugs at my heartstrings every time I read it and goes down well with every audience. Aye, my wonderful parents, Bert and Elsie: theirs was a true love all right, a lifelong love begun during the Blitz of 1940, when he was 17, she 15. You can imagine those dark nights with blackout curtains drawn, the sirens and searchlights, barrage balloons, ack-ack guns, and the drone of enemy bombers above. I have a black-and-white photograph of Bert and Elsie taken a year later, he in uniform on his first leave from the RAF. A studio shot, it captures the very essence of wartime romance and stands on my desk with the original Twin Dakota clocks on the wall above, “just touching, kissing as he’d always say”. Of course my book is dedicated to their memory.

      Fond regards,

      Paul

      Maureen sends best wishes too.

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