In a completely self obsessed way, I haven’t managed to get a Sunday poem from anyone this week. My week has been taken over by the imminent arrival of my pamphlet, which started to take on the quality of a mythological beast due to delays at the printers..
The lovely Peter and Ann Sansom, the editors of aforementioned pamphlet, decided to drive the copies of my pamphlet over to Leeds on Friday night, as I was reading at the Heart Cafe with Ian Parks. I was very grateful for this, as it clearly went above and beyond the job description!
I decided to leave straight after work on Friday, envisaging getting to the Heart Cafe early, sitting in the sunshine somewhere, maybe Woodhouse Moore with time on my own to gloat over the pamphlet and get used to reading it to myself before getting up on stage.
However I got stuck in traffic on the M62 for over two hours. I went through varying degrees of rage in my car, as I and thousands of other motorists slowly cooked in the heat. I even got my recorder out from the back (I’d been teaching it that morning) and considered trying to learn some new notes (I used to play recorder to quite a good standard when I was younger – but have forgotten it all. At the minute I stay one note ahead of the kids – which means I can only play tunes with B, A, G, E, D and F sharp in).
However after a couple of folorn, squeaky melodies, I decided that was more depressing than poking my eye out, so I went back to my silent seething.
Eventually I went past two accidents – one on the other side of the motorway, one on my side. By this point I’d calmed down. The lovely David Tait had liased with the organisers of the event and got my slot in the night put back and I always eventually move to a philosophical wondering of whether I would have been in that accident if I’d left a bit earlier.
So I got to the Heart Cafe in time to read, hear some of the live jazz, and more importantly, hear Ian Parks read some of his Cavafy translations, or versions. They gave me goosebumps. I think they are coming out from Rack Press soon, and I can’t wait to read them.
And then it was back to Barrow and it was the launch yesterday at The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere. It was great to hear the poems from the other winners and it was lovely to read from my pamphlet. But the nicest thing about it was seeing so many friendly faces. There were people at the launch who were there the first time I turned up at Fourth Monday Poets, clutching a poem, terrified because I’d never shown anyone my work before. There were lots of poetry friends that I’ve got to know over the last four or five years – from Lancaster, Barrow, Ulverston, Wales – lots of my family there, and there were obviously complete strangers as well. It was lovely – apparently there were about 60 audience members which is pretty good for a poetry reading!
My twin sister was there as well, and apparently people kept coming up to her, congratulating her, asking her to sign their book – they wouldn’t believe that she was not me. We had different clothes on – I think they thought I had gone and changed my outfit after I finished reading or something! Very funny.
Anyway, today I thought I would post the first poem in the pamphlet, and I promise, next week I will go back to other people’s poems!
I am also planning on a mid-week poetry posting of a sequence that I’ve started working on and then abandoned, in the hope that it will spur me on to complete it!
Anyway, here is the poem.
Walney Channel-Kim Moore
There’s a door frame in the channel,
made of thin black twisted wood.
When the tide is in, it leads to water.
When the tide is out, it leads to mud
and the beginning of the old road
across the channel. Listen at dusk
for the shouts of those who walked
that channel years ago. This was just
a crossing, the only way, before the bridge
was built. Each morning you’ll hear
the shipyard siren calling men to work.
Wait and watch the path appear
like the spine of some forgotten animal
turning in its sleep before you come
to find me. Wear boots, or go barefoot.
Don’t stop, and if you hear them
calling, don’t turn around. You’ll see
barnacles and seaweed on my causeway
and a blue boat waiting at the shore.