Busy summer: at one with the ducks

It’s been a busy summer of poetry a-plenty for me and I’ve had some great times meeting new people and getting out and about. On top of performing in Covent Garden and then Highbury, I made my debut the other day at that booming metropolis of Ashburton.

The Ashburton gig reminded me of the wonderful depth of local poetry in South Devon. Lucy Lepchani’s new book Ladygardens is amazing and I urge everyone to order a copy. But also there were Joanna Hatfull and Richard Thomas, Sue Coulson and others, people I’ve known and respected for years, and all different poets with different styles.

Indeed it’s been a busy few weeks, not only putting together the Poetry Island shows, but also writing new material, new poems, making giants moons and zebras out of cardboard and acrylic paints, and, of course, rehearsing and rehearsing for the slams in Bristol and Chelenham.

I’ve also been taking part in Simon Williams’ September Poem A Day challenge on Facebook. So far I have managed the required one poem a day. I will probably naff it all up at the last hurdle. But it’s given me the chance to do something more literary and deep than the usual poems about animals and flapjacks.

Here comes one now, look:


A rocky outcrop.
Under moon glow the sea
A fluorescent neon
And stars scattered like
Pinprick moth holes.

Towns across the bay
Shimmer and shimmy on a night heat haze,
With someone else’s advertising,
Useless out here in the wilds.

You take my hand
And we lose ourselves
To history and heritage
And times past and distant relatives
And to all those Generations Who Couldn’t.

And we lose ourselves
To the obviousness
Primal heat heat hot with desire
So sullenly do our clammy clothes hang
On sexed up frames.

And we lose ourselves
To a magic of our own invention
(Oh, aren’t we so clever!)
Young, bored, restless,
Welling up through the centuries.

Heart thumping, sublime.
It’s ever so naughty
Because we’re ever so naughty
And we can’t be the first, surely,
In all these millions of years?

I mean, wow, where did that one come from? Anyway, it’s been a good summer of inspiration and amusement. The bits that stand out are: Appearing at the Barnstaple Fringe with Daniel Haynes in Bryony Chave Cix’s fantastic Spectacular Vernacular. Meeting poet Chris Lawrence at an open mic on London. Performing at he Dartington Festival of Words. And discovering that the mayor of Cheltenham is also called Robert Garmham.

Life can be queer, like that!