Monday, 5 October 2009

The Book Sellers Of Appledore

Thank You Appledore

My time as Writer-in-Residence at the Appledore Book Festival has finally run out. It was an experience I'll never forget. I met so many kind and creative people and made a lot of new friends too. The Festival could not have run so smoothly without meticulous planning by the Committee members and the hard work of the Volunteers. Well done everyone!

September swaggered in,
holding on to its pledges
and settled
without fan-fare,
to share
its treasure-filled time.

A stretch was offered
for me to take
so, without too much thought,
took it of course
and was soon strolling
the narrow streets
and many rises
of ol' twisty Appledore.

I slowly breathed-in
the invigorating whiff
of freshly brewed coffee,
pasties, beer
fish... and books.
All this
and the fresh tang of salt
on the bell-ringing tide.

They were there okay,
protruding proudly
from plenty of pockets,
or held lovingly in local hands
and teetering perilously tall
on tables.

Books! Books! Books!
Books that drew me
and offered me back my youth
(if only for a fleeting moment) -
O, what would I have become
without those crazy,
literate, jazzed-up Beats?
New books are great:
just fine,
but if you close your eyes
you just don't know they're around.

As far as I'm concerned,
a book's gotta smell right.
Yes, weird maybe,
but some old books, to me,
are triggers to the remembered summers
of the 50s: adventurous,
new and blisteringly hot;
raging like raw Rockabilly
on a Memphis radio -
Promising us something new
and exciting.

I slipped out of my 'Sun Sessions' reverie
and felt that I was being clocked
by various writers and broadcasters.
They were gazing out
from a multitude of posters.
from the corner of my eye,
I saw... William-bloomin'-Blake!
Yep, ol' visionary Blake...
in Appledore!

He was nuzzled-up
(neat and cozy like)
next to that other crazy ol' traveller,
Jack Kerouac.
Two spiritual beings
who'd made it big.

They were leaning there,
doing nothing: speechless,
spine next to perfect spine,
like a couple of resting Angels.
Two towering pillars
of the literary community,
still demanding attention
without bawling,
or using billious colours.
Not there in the flesh of course,
but they were there,
just the same.

They were both looking a little...
a little ragged around the edges:
weary from loving
and some fighting, I suppose.

This is what I like
about old paperbacks -
They mirror life for real!


Friday, 2 October 2009

Fishermen's Cottages In Appledore

I Listen To What You Say.

I've really enjoyed Appledore with its creative and friendly people! My time as Writer-in-Residence has been an experience I would have hated to have missed. I have talked to so many people and listened very closely to the tales they had to tell.

Fishermen's Cottages

You won't find
many local fishermen
in Appledore's
fishermen's cottages:
that's what we say.

They've been sold on
to lots of well-off people
who weren't born here,
but up the road, away.

For years and years
we've been trading
and fishing.
Now it's nearly all gone -
Us locals are wishing
the old days would return
to what it was, back-along.

Not back to the days
of that 'Hubba the Dane':
he wanted to burn
the whole place down,
but to those times
when you knew the names
of most of the people
who walked around.

Still, one good thing
this Book Festival's done
I suppose, is to draw in folk
whether it's wet,
or we've got a bit of sun.

We've had some well-known
people down here, you know.
They come to perform:
reading from their books,
or putting on little plays.

Some have been back here
several times now.
We're even getting to know them
by name...
Just like the good ol' days!


Photo by Linda Shaddick.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Appledore Library: 150 Years Old This Year!

A Literary Genre Poem
Gonzo dream in Appledore Library

Graphic Novels
Mystery -
'My Twin Was A Russian Spy'

Court Room Drama
Memoir -
'Avoiding Accidents With One's Fly'

Christian Classics
Noir -
'I Got Them Deviant Low Down Blues'

Travel -
'An Alien Ran Off With My Shoes'

Indigenous People
Erotica -
'Body Painting With Home Made Jam'

Science Fiction
Folklore -
'The Sex Life Of An Appledore Clam'

Romantic Comedy
Horror -
'Coping With A Troublesome Niece'

Picture Books
Suspense -
'I Was Released By The Leith Police'

Whodunit -
'Let's Start Another Filthy War'

And Fortunately
the last one that I've got
is entitled:
'Avoiding The 'List Poet' Bore'

Eccentrically Colin.

Photo by Spencer Murphy.