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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

The Jabberwocky Green Book

It was a black night of rain with kerbside gutters running like rivers, ponding in places, and leaping sheets of spray as I followed the SatNav with Maureen at my side and our good friend Helen in the back.

It was 7th November 2019 and we were on our way down the Wirral to Lingham’s Booksellers, Heswall, for a very special ‘First Thursday’ event, the launch of the Jabberwocky Green Book, which we each had a poem in.

Publication of the Green Book by ‘First Thursday’ marked the 50th anniversary of the Jabberwocky Poetry Society, whose inaugural meeting was held at Burton Gallery, Wirral, in November 1969.

Moving venue several times around the Wirral, Jabberwocky (named after Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem in Through The Looking Glass) provided a platform for local poets to read their own work with musical interludes giving a break.  Guest poets included such luminaries as Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Stephen Spender and Thom Gunn, to name but a few.

Jabberwocky closed in 1987 owing to falling attendance, but in 2002 John Curry, Peggy Pool and Chas Raws started a poetry group along similar lines called ‘First Thursday’ at Lingham’s Booksellers, with meetings on the first Thursday of every month except August.

Jabberwocky, in its day, brought out four small volumes of poetry by local poets – a Black Book, Orange Book, Purple Book and Blue Book, each with a cartoon illustration of the mythical Jabberwock on its front cover.  Now we have the Green Book with that same Jabberwock on its cover.

And being green, of course, the book is environmentally themed, highlighting the issues imperilling life on our planet – global warming, plastic waste, habitat-loss and so on.

With John Curry, Alan Gaunt and Kemal Houghton presenting, it was a most enjoyable evening at Lingham’s with a packed audience despite the weather.  Musical interludes were provided by The Waite Collective singing madrigals.  ‘Picture of the Month’ was by artist Chris Youngman, who created wonderful posters for Jabberwocky.  Poems from the Black, Orange, Purple and Blue Books were read, some by the original poets themselves.  Then a few invited poets read their poems from the Green Book.  My darling partner Maureen Weldon was amongst them – and gosh, how well her poem ‘The Bay’ went down.  Such applause!  I was so proud of her.

Finally the Green Book prize was awarded to Mary Hodgson for her brilliant poem ‘Jabberwocky 2019’ in which, expanding on Lewis Carroll’s whimsical vocabulary, she exhorts us to take up our “Vorpal Blade” and “fight to save all Nature’s worth.”  Needless to say, her reading brought the house down.

***

Huge thanks to John Curry, Alan Gaunt and Kemal Houghton for an unforgettable evening, and of course to Diana Hendry, without whom there would have been no Jabberwocky Poetry Society in the first place.

Paul Beech

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019

 

 

Remembrance Sunday 2019

From our high perch on the side of Halkyn Mountain, I watch the sun rise in glorious colour over the Dee Estuary below and the Wirral beyond.  It is 10th November 2019, Remembrance Sunday here in the UK, when we remember all those military and civilian men and women who served the cause of freedom in the two world wars and later conflicts.

Our national ceremony will be held at the Cenotaph in London, and Maureen and I, watching on television, will be wearing our poppies with pride when, at 11am exactly, a big gun signals the start of a two minute silence.

Her dad was in the army during the Second World War, my dad in the RAF.

 

RUBY

 

The thump of the big gun rolls away, the two-minute silence begun.  Just a gull or two calling distantly.  And there she is, waiting in memory: a woman never quite met, face never quite glimpsed, only her withered, liver-spotted hand, like a claw.  I never knew her name but thought of her as Ruby.  I knew only this: that she was one of those brave British agents dropped into occupied France to work with the Marquis in the run-up to D-Day.  Her room in the nursing home was always dark, door ajar, music most sombre on low.  Occasionally I’d hear her cough.  The big gun sounds again: it’s over.

between bugle calls

their spirits rise in glory

our boys, our girls

 

Paul Beech

(‘Ruby’ first published in the November 2017 issue of Failed Haiku: A Journal of English Senryu.)

My poem ‘Homemaking’ featured…

Hi folks,

I’m delighted to report that my poem ‘Homemaking’ is today featured on Charlotte Digregorio’s Writer’s Blog.

Written in January 2017, shortly after my partner Maureen and I moved to Connah’s Quay, Deeside, ‘Homemaking‘ was intended as a Hygge poem (Hygge being a Danish term for comfort and cosiness).

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

https://charlottedigregorio.wordpress.com/2019/10/28/a-poem-by-paul-beech/#comments

Cheers,

Paul

Copyright © Paul Beech 2019