Apart from Brexit and being off work for the tail end of the week – and missing today’s Pompey home game due to having a heavy cold, it’s been a good few days. On Wednesday I headlined at Chichester Poetry, which was great – a nice appreciative audience, and some excellent open mike poems from poets I was unaware of beforehand. I also had a poem accepted for the next edition of South Magazine the same day.
On Thursday we went to hear folk musician Philip Henry perform at the sadly-closing Tea Tray in Southsea. It was an excellent concert (I managed to keep quiet by overdosing on cough sweets). His Underground Railroad harmonica solo was astonishing and all the audience members that I could see were open-mouthed in amazement. http://www.philliphenryandhannahmartin.co.uk/ for details. Shout out also to Square Roots Promotions who do great work promoting roots and folk music in the area. http://www.squarerootspromotions.co.uk/
Last night we were at the Shelley Theatre in Bournemouth to see the consistently brilliant Steve Knightley (of Show of Hands fame – https://showofhands.co.uk/steve-knightley-tour-dates ) on his latest tour. Some of his tours have a theme to tie the songs together, this one’s theme is about where his songs come from. As a writer myself I found this particularly interesting – a lot of ideas for me to take away from the evening, including performance structure / thematic approach, and a lot of parallels in terms of where my poems come from; a photograph, historical event, building, local myth, or simply something someone has said.
One prose piece that always seems to go down well came from something my son said two days after his seventh birthday. It’s in Landings and first appeared in Orbis Poetry Magazine ( http://www.orbisjournal.com/ ). It’s a poem about choices, about making the best of what we have, about making our own way in life. A cliche perhaps, but maybe something to hold on to in troubled times…
It Was Only His
Second Ever Day Of Being Seven…
…and he was
having a gob-stopper as a treat after a swimming lesson. They were waiting for
his sisters to finish getting changed. His father was trying to read the paper.
The economic outlook was not good. An election was near. Pompey were about to
get relegated. Rolling the sweet around the roof of his mouth, he held it out
between his teeth. “What colour is it, Dad? “ he said. “Red, the colour of lava
spewing out of the earth, or that Kit-Kat wrapper,” his father replied,
pointing towards the floor near a bin in the corner. The boy laughed. A few
moments later, between the local and international news, he asked again, “What
colour now?” His father looked up.“ Orange, the colour of the sun sliding over
the horizon, or a bottle of Lucozade from the drinks machine” The boy smiled.
Skipping the letters page, his father had a half-hearted go at the Sudoku.
“What now?” “Yellow, the colour of sand on a tropical beach, or a packet of Starburst.”
The gob-stopper had shrunk considerably the next time he asked, somewhere in
the editorial comments. “Green, a canopy of trees, just after rain, or a bottle
of Sprite”, came the answer. As the minutes slipped past, they kept going,
through Football, Rugby and Motor Sport , each time the boy asking the same
question, as the world in his mouth got smaller. “Blue, for the sea on a Bounty
bar wrapper”; “Indigo, for a packet of pickled onion monster munch”; Violet,
for the colour of dark, an hour before dawn. Asking again, his exasperated
father replied “What colour do you want it to be? It can be any colour you
want. You decide.” The boy opened his mouth and held the small globe of sugar
on the tip of his tongue. It was white, all colours and no colour, like a ball
of light at the beginning of time. The boy tipped back his head, swallowed it