FRINGE POETRY FESTIVAL ONE
Published by SeaQuake Books
Copyright 2015. Individual contributors.
Smashwords Edition, License Notes
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Sing me the song of your homeland, the legend of dark Kare Kale,
Sing to me of basalt towers, of spiced lamb and apricot groves.
I’ll tell you the tale of my people, a fable of merchants and slaves,
I’ll talk of sea mists and rootling for blackberries in hedgerows.
Speak of grey minarets and your aunts washing clothes in the river,
And of worn men and women, protecting the land of their kin.
I’ll tell of echoing coalmines and sledding down hills in the forest,
As flames embolden your fingers and sandstorms veil my limbs.
Read from the book of your father, written in honour and blood,
Tell me of rhythmic drumbeats and the tournaments you won.
I’ll sing from the verse of my mother, a timeworn and sacred oath,
I’ll sing of rock pools and of crabbing in the afternoon sun.
We open our mouths but the words are gone, shattered like stars,
Hung aloft in the darkening sky like a map of our souls.
We lay, as embers fade and supple winds unclothe us, we sleep
As the crescent moon wanes and the sea shudders, wise and old.
This tidal wave of lost souls
whose cries are captured
by mocking seagulls
against a gathering shoal of sorrow.
A discordance of severed dreams
and splintered hopes.
Disbelief they went without us knowing.
Those early days of searching
following trails that left us shivering in
sweat drenched corners.
Promises of well-meaning strangers
who tell us what we need to hear.
Hoping for a pearl in every ugly oyster.
Guilt tattooed through the pore
and fibre of existence.
Yearning to unsay,
undo, all that might have made a difference.
Bitterness that you are safe in knowledge
and we are not.
Wanting to tear apart the sanctuary
of your untouched room,
then scared to disturb the dust
of your being.
Sleeping with your faded pop star
T-shirt next to our skin.
Our secret shroud of sorrow.
The Fly That Skated
We sat in neat rows
behind smooth wooden desks
in our first week
at the new grammar school
and the teacher said use
to write an original sentence.
I sought inspiration
in my two main sources
of reading matter:
the Dandy and the Beano:
Two horns stuck through the crust
of the cow pie.
The strong-arm school marm
gave him the stick.
Dennis felt the weight
of Dad’s slipper.
Then I glanced across
at Simon’s desk and read
a sentence that I knew
I could not better:
The fly skated
on the man’s bald head.
Billy five sheds gets married
Bleary from the stag night,
we reintroduced each other
and introduced the wives,
swayed in church to the blessings,
crowded the bar back at the hotel,
bought rounds of drinks,
were polite through the reception
and listened to speeches.
The bride’s father, still drunk from last night,
made little sense,
but we all banged tables and applauded anyway.
Then the best man with his prepared wit and wisdom
‘Our Billy, the bridegroom,
is the owner of the greatest number
of temporary wooden structures
Again we applauded.
To be fair he could have mentioned the ex wives,
but it wouldn’t have been right.
Because after each marriage,
Billy always got to keep the sheds.
a man’s shed is for life.
Back to the drawing board
This present placement where the human race is;
Could it have all occurred by accident,
Or by design, perhaps divine intent?
These youths in baseball caps, with vacant faces,
All uniformed in trainers, trailing laces.
The question is, can they be heaven sent
Or are they products of environment?
Dog-dirty streets and plastic fast-food places?
The world which has been wasted won’t come back
As we speed down a one-way Cul-de-sac.
Just like the dinosaurs, which came and went
Are we another failed experiment?
In some celestial place perhaps the lord
Is once more dusting off his drawing board.
Fold me in your manly arms,
your constant strength,
your love and care,
your musky maleness – hold me;
hold me together – keep my parts safe.
I long to kiss your lips, for you to swallow me whole,
to fuse with you into one; melt into you
and lose myself in the holiness of your embrace.
We hope that you enjoyed ‘The Fringe Poetry Festival One’. For more information go to www.facebook.com/writinginsouthport
'The Fringe Poetry Festival One' is a pamphlet of poetry from poets based in the North West of England. It is distributed in pubs, cafes, libraries, shops, buses and trains. In fact, anywhere the public may have time to read some interesting pieces of writing. The pamphlets and ebooks are published by SeaQuake Books. The idea behind the initiative is to bring poetry to a wider audience. The poets included in this particular pamphlet are Jan Machin, Jacky Pemberton, Bill Lythgoe, Phil McNulty, Mike Ratcliffe, Linda Lewis.