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!


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