18/03/2014

Bitter

Plus ca change as the Germans say.

It's been a been a long time since I went to the Beehive Poets, probably getting on for five years. The absence is mainly explained by the retreat within ourselves the missus and me underwent after our daughter was stillborn, then having two sons, and moving out of Bradford. But, the missus said I could go, so I went.

It was rather nice. Sitting in the glow of the gas lamps (yes, real gas lamps in a pub), with the fire crackling in the hearth, catching up on the news of who has died, and what people have been up to. Drinking rather more beer than I should, and listening to poetry.

So little had changed really. John asked how many lines my poem was when I read - anything longer than ten lines and he gets a bit bored I suspect - Kevin read a very interesting, and entertaining, poem about 1963 that was ostensibly about a train being stuck in the snow, but was riddled with social comment and sexual imagery, his mate, whose name I can't remember, read a fine poem about about fatherhood, Steve fired up his dithyrambic drone with a piece that was an amalgam of his prose and poetry, reconfigured and restructured, and then Frank....

Well, Frank read a poem by some chap named Muldoon, an Austrailian, whose name is either Paul or Robert.... it doesn't really matter.... and either way he is a poor poet compared to Frank Brindle, and it was rather a let down.

Oh I know it is a shocking thing to say.

But the fact is that Frank is the finest nature poet I know; precise, intimate, thoughtful, and his delivery, with it's Pennine burr, is reminiscent of the landscape painting of John Arlott at his best; or perhaps Peter Jones, the football commentator.

It turns out that Frank has taken up painting, and has an exhibition in Todmorden in May. Which I would be interested to see, particularly having heard him talk so passionately last night about the process.

At which point I had to make my excuses and leave... a train to catch...

I scribbled a few lines of verse on the train there...

a village beach socks rolled down
away from pleasures found in town
just mudflats, sand and sky

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mudflat ditch with water lapping
overhead call gulls aflapping
watch eager children bent on crabbing
from the wooden bridge

orders bark cries ring out
mums on net

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pebbledashed Shipley gently rising
up thy moor it's not surprising
at thine heart a breakers yard

Burley's neat suburban gardens
give Leeds estate agents hard ons
double glazed and tight

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I didn't write anything on the way back, four pints and a Jameson, saw to that. Instead I flicked my view from the reflection to the passing street lights and back, whilst thinking about old friends.


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