Wednesday, 28 November 2012

What It Says On The Tin

I sometimes wonder whether this blog is in breach of the Trades Descriptions Act. It’s billed as ‘Phil The Bard’ but there’s often very little ‘bardic’ on it – (‘I am Taliesin ...’).

Even the header photo is misleading. My daughter set it up and took it. Much as I appreciated her trouble, there are inaccuracies.

For a kick-off I never, ever, ever, ever (did I say ‘ever’?) drink beer from a can. It’d more likely to be a bottle-conditioned ale. My daughter, bless her, found an empty bottle of Stout that my wife had used in cooking. She did drink Stout from cans, my wife, when the kids were babies. It helped with the lactation. But that’s too much information. If I’m going to drink Stout I’ll have it from hand-pumps down at my local or else from a bottle. Never from a can. Same goes for other ales.

So, this is a misleading blog. A bardic blog with few poems on it. Well, I’m about to rectify that as I’ve had seven poems published in recent weeks. It’s like buses. You don’t get one for ages and then they all come at once. I’m pleased to say that I’ve had six in the latest edition of Iota (Iota 91) and one in Planet, the Welsh Internationalist Magazine. This is the first time I’ve made it into Iota and to have all six submissions accepted is very gratifying. It’s the second time I’ve been in Planet. What a great magazine it is.

What I’ll do is reproduce one of the published poems here and put it along with the rest on one of the side links should anyone be kind enough to want to read them.

Or you can read them here and here.

If you do, then pray let me know what you think. We bardic types like that. We’re all ego. We’d like to think it’s art.

The Gas Fridge

What else in 1980s bedsit land
but 1960s furniture? Earlier even.
Items I had not seen since pre-fab
parlours, great aunts' kitchens.
Then, unexpectedly,
where I prepared for finals
and for unemployment, a gas fridge.

Half the height of ours at home,
it fed, like cooker and gas fire,
on the 50p coins I pressed and turned
into the meter every second day.
It showed its life by a pilot-light,
blue and awkward behind its back.

To ignite it I would stoop and drop
match after lighted match
down its fissured tube, hope
that they would reach and catch
before they fizzled out.
I could waste half a precious box
before I found the knack.

Who would have thought
that Einstein patented the spell
that drove ammonia around
those cooling pipes without a sound?
A pity then no patent way
to keep the pilot light from going out
in Mrs Hossey's redbrick bedsits.
'No blacks, lovey, no coloureds.'

Just two pints of Stones
in The Little Park on my 21st
birthday. The Sheffield drifting
in the South Atlantic, charred
and stricken. Boys my own age
between her decks, burning.

If you've enjoyed that (and even if you didn't) have a look at the page on the right with the rest of the poems. Why not visit the Iota and Planet websites. Take out a subscription too, if you are so inclined. The good people there would be very grateful. These magazines deserve our support.