Thursday, June 30, 2005

Questions and Answers

Here are five questions set for me by Transience. If you’d like me to ask you five questions you only have to ask. I’ll try and personalise them, as Transience has done, but I won’t try and match her dedication to the Blog. So it’ll be the first 3 of you to apply. You will then have to publish the questions and answers on your blog and pass the invitation on. Here we go then…

1 - your new radio blog sounds really interesting. could you describe it for me? answer in haiku, please.

a regular blog
with added radio waves
as well as broadband

and if you take part
you might find your words voiced
by a famous actor

2 - if it is indeed true that peter piper chose a large number of peppers that had been soaked in vinegar and spices, where are they? i'd have to ask why they got there in the first place, too, you know.

The rhyme started out as an example in a book of pronunciation published in 1813. No one knows who Peter was or why he was given the task of choosing the peppers and what happened to them. I think he probably went to the pepper shop with his mum who said, Pick us some peppers, Peter. Then, on the way home they were stolen by a pepper thief. Eventually they would have been eaten by the thief and his mates, possibly stuffed with stolen hamster meat or similar.

3 - you are allowed only one wonky journey in your life. your survival kit is composed of one poem, one literary work, one song and one art piece. identify what the poem, literary work, etc. will be. how will these help you survive?

Tricky. Does one go for nostalgia? Or something that will release its pleasure slowly? Something short or long? Only one poem. I’d have to think about this a long time before I could decide. It might be Roger McGough or e.e. cummings or maybe something that would take some unpicking like a poem by Don Paterson. The literary work is slightly easier. I’d probably choose the Gormenghast trilogy. It would remind me of my youth, help me pass the time, and it’s a big, densely packed book so it would bear several readings and to keep me going for a long while. The song would be Strawberry Fields Forever. To cheer me up, remind me of good times, to astound me with its cleverness and the genius of the song structure, and to remind me how a good song lyric ought to be written. I’ve been listening to it for over thirty years now. Scary. And probably sad. The art piece? Hmm… how to fit it into my travelling kit. Something small. Maybe something tactile. A small bhudda. Someone who also once went on a very wonky journey. I’d like its contemplative nature.

4 - damn right i got the blues. but i want to shake them off. what is the best remedy for a girl who pedals constantly in search of norway?

Well, where or what is norway and why are you searching for it? I’d need to know that first – then it would be a pleasure and an honour to help.

5. you don't think roses-are-red-type verses very original. but they seem to be everywhere. would you rather be non-original and enduring or original and forgotten? why?

That’s not a fair question. Obviously I want to be original and enduring. I guess that the options you give are better than being non-original and forgotten. Okay – I’ll go for original and forgotten. The human race will be forgotten one day. One day the solar system will be consumed by the sun. One day even the universe will probably cease to exist. So, I’ll take my day now, thankyou.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Thanks for the questions
How did I do?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Chrome and Glass

I would stand on a hill in Umbria
hoping for an early glimpse

of the wild boar

I would sit in the shade
of unfamiliar trees
by the pool,
sip a cold beer
and watch you swim towards me,
glistening in the bare sunlight

scattering tiny rainbows

I would breath in the scent of wild thyme
and woodsmoke,
watch the swallows dart and chase
through the lessening light
see the stars appear
in the valley below

If I were in Italy right now
Instead of Milton Keynes
Instead of in this Novotel
Instead of in this restaurant
Instead of at this small table
writing this poem
and waiting for my pudding

It's a radio opportunity. Check out Radio Blog

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Swimming Pool Tear

When you wrote me that letter
Saying goodbye
A swimming-pool tear
Fell from my eye

It splashed on the floor
It flooded the room
It drowned my dog
Of an afternoon

The salt water stream
Ran out on the street
Like the rush of a stranger
You don’t want to meet

It ran down the drain
With a choke and a sigh
Like the words on the letter
When you said goodbye

Fancy being on the radio? Check out Radio Blog

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A New Blog

Well, I'm back from my travels and will be doing the rounds later, visiting blogland. I expect everyone will have done lots of amazing things, started lots of new and fascinating discussions, written new poems and fallen in love, fallen out of love and probably fallen over. I wrote a few poems while I was away - so I'll hopefully be knocking them into shape and posting some of them here.

Meanwhile I was talking to a friend of mine who's a radio producer and we thought it might be fun to write something for the radio based on blogging. Maybe a play, a drama, a comedy - maybe a soap. Then we thought - why not create a blog for that purpose and use it as the basis of the programme. And that's what we've done. It may work - it may not. But it should be fun.
So if you'd like to contribute visit
Radio Blog

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Wonky Journeys

Just a quick note before I leave for Cornwall (not Devon at all) and the last stint of the current school visits - mind you, I'll also be looking up a couple of old friends.

Great reaction to Wonky Finger! You can read a fab review at
The Utility Fish Shed - thanks to CJ. And some equally fine comments from Liam at The End of the Pier Show

Meanwhile - had a very funny poem sent in to the
Poetry Zone by Asley Iam (aged 12)

Rose are red
Violets are blue
The zoo called
They're looking for you

Usually I don't post these Roses are red type verses because they're not very original - it must be the corniest little Valentine's verse ever. But here's the challenge. Can you come up with an original one? Something new?

Back next week when I hope to visit everyone's blogs and catch up with all the thrilling news here in Blogland.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Travelling Poet

I’m off on my teaching travels for the next couple of weeks – Milton Keynes, Wolverhampton, Devon, Rainham – all over the place – spreading the word in schools. I’ll try and do a bit of blogging in between times – but may not manage it. If I haven’t dropped by your blog for a while – or if I don’t visit in the next couple of weeks - forgive me. Hopefully I can catch up on all the blogging news when I return.

Below is a poem I published nearly year ago when I began this blog. New readers might enjoy it.

And also to say that you can now listen to some samples of Wonky Finger on the Rabbit Press website. Let me know what you think.

See you soon.


I’ve had a stack.
Too many to mention, really.
Girls in the main.
They say that it’s a knack
I never was a flirt
I mastered that too late.
A shame.
I could have taken centre stage
Won them over with a well-worked speech, I’m sure
Or hammed it up
Or dazzled with a fancy line of dialogue
Or pratfall (actually I tried that – just got hurt)
My mind was dancing
My head was thinking of the craic
For that’s what being young is for
In truth I was too self-absorbed
Assembling the programme
I didn’t see the exit sign
Above the door

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Cider House Days

I remember the cider house
Where the ring roads met and circled
Where I met Sam

There was little joy there
Where the old boys with the sour apple scent
Sat at the wet wooden tables

And the desperate laughter
Getting more maniac with every sip
More intense

Until we tripped arm-linked hell-bent
Into the high-pitched singing air
of Birmingham