Morning Fishing Trips

A September Saturday in 1995
the four a.m. sea air is salt-sour
silicate sand shimmers
under the after-midnight-blue canopy
the waning moon a spotlight
on discarded worm skins

I dig since I’m the youngest –
because even morning fishing trips have hierarchies –
success arrives after ten minutes
of shovel and scoop
we loot the fresh bait
they can wriggle all they want
we own them now

we march in early morning muteness
preserving our energy
until we can cast off
and pour ourselves a flask-coffee
topped with a nip of whisky

destination reached we pick our spots
wisely or not
our rods are set
with hands stained with dying worm-dye

waiting for the first ripple
or bend of pole
the craic is quiet
about the things men like to talk about
as dawn passes over us

an hour passes by
then three of five rods
begin to quiver
the ancient part of our hunter-brains
spike our natural instincts

we let our rods sway
luring in the line tenderly
then reel rapidly
drawing in a decent-sized pollock
the crack of the baton
gives me the first of a few fish
caught before the nearby B&B’s
serve their breakfasts.

After some further success
we head back to the van
our shoal are all fair sizes
my pollock glimmering longest in the bucket
but hierarchies exist
and I may get landed with a small plaice
but where there are hierarchies
there are rites of passage
and it’s the first fish i’ve caught
so I get to keep it

I also get to gut all the catch
my fumbling numb fingers
dyed crimson by dead fish
find their rhythm
and I’m proud to be
on the first
rung of the hunter’s hierarchy.

I used to go fishing in Northumberland regularly, this poem is about when i first started out, I was 12. One of our neighbours took me with his friends, it was always a great experience.

I hope you like it.

Take it easy

Paul

The Shows

We called the travelling funfair
“The Shows”
the same way our parents did
when they arrived in The Wick
late summer excitement
that smelled of hot sugared doughnuts, flowing diesel and damp trampled grass
the air was always a kaleidoscope
of flickering lightbulbs and brightly painted plywood
shrill screams of exhiliration could be heard over a mile away
layered over a techno soundtrack
thumping with the pulses of waltzer-spun teens
and kids riding the ghost train anticipating the supersoaker squirt on exit
sometimes I liked to play the bandits
tuppence to ten-pence a go
so nothing to lose really
the games were good to –
one night I hooked six banana-yellow ducks
and walked home with six goldfish
struggling to hold the punch balloon and pink-pillow candy floss in my other hand
it was a great time to be alive
amongst crowded smiles and double denim
spending my paper round and pocket money like fun was going out of fashion
and just the other day
I saw an internet flyer
“The Shows” are back this year
travelling up and down the coast
and although I’ll not see them
I can taste the air –

the flavour of excitement.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem and feel free to check out some of my other writing.

Take It Easy,

Paul

Birdsong

Instead of sleep
in the early hours
I sit and listen to the
siren song of the starlings and finches
at four am
they gather on the dew-kissed fencetops
when the delicate new day
is climbing from grey earth
to sherbet-pink sky
and I wonder what’s to come
in the next 19 hours
before my head hits the pillow
because – although most days are the same –
like the dawn chorus
everyday is different.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. If you want to read more, please explore the site.

Take it Easy

Paul

Wetland Character Building


I almost drowned once
down near the mill
swimming the current of the Coquet
three quarters of the way across
my legs lost power
against the undertow
I’m lucky Peck kept his eyes on me
as the river reeds
wrapped around ankles
my head bobbing up and down
like a braeburn on bonfire night
and the rest of the boys
jumped back in
like working-class Hasselhoffs
and pulled me to the side
they were much stronger swimmers than me

a quick rest and pat on the back
spitting up some of the river
then swigging back
some calming Carling
the realisation – dawned on me –
I had to swim back
facing a new fear head on
because backstroke was no good
I’m lucky I’ve got such great mates
we swam back together
like geese fly
    – in formation –
reaching the riverbank’s safety
and although my swimming didn’t improve that day
my character did.

Thanks for taking the time to read my poem, an autobiographical piece of my younger days.

Hope you liked it and if you did, feel free to leave a comment.

Take It Easy

Paul x

Pre-Dawn Swimming

As teenagers
we swam the river at 4 in the morning
the cold pink pre-dawn watched us flail
our underage drunken legs unsteady in the calm water
feeble attempts to wash away the taint
of cheap vodka, value cola and sleeping bag sourness

we were like calves
breaking away from the protection of our parents
arrogant and unwise to the world we thought we knew best
but even the young Shorthorns upstream had more sense than us
because they knew better than to bathe in others shit

I don’t know whose idea it was
for all of us to jump in fully clothed
probably Dave’s – he was partial to a plan
– and vomit
he was a puppet king of sorts
living in the shadow of the castle

we were a sight
walking the back lanes to drip dry
crumpled kids carrying crumpled tents and crushed up sleeping bags
stumbling home without words spoken
the only sound heard was the clanging of dragging pegs and poles
chittering out a slurred morse code that forces a gang of grins
a simple message
– ‘Same again next week’.




Thanks for taking the time to read my poem. I love hearing your comments and feedback.

Also feel free to share.

Take it easy,

Paul

Question The Campaign

Meeting Minutes for Monday 1 March between CEO  & Head of Campaigns

 “What’s our campaign this week?”

“Maybe – tackling food poverty?”

“That’ll raise the charity’s profile and brand, yeah?”

“We’ll use some vloggers to tell people how to eat and budget properly and create some hashtags, perhaps?”

“How about telling people to use Food banks?” 

   “Do you want to spend big on this campaign?”

“No, No – I’ll just get the PR team to send some free stuff to the vloggers and buy their weeks shopping how much do you reckon that’ll cost?”

        “We’ll tell the vloggers they’re ambassadors for this campaign, they’ll love that and a week’s shopping and some of that promotional fairtrade stuff lying in the warehouse, total outlay under £1000?” 

“Sounds great, can you make sure we get the social media team and the vloggers to add the JustGiving links?”

         “To the food banks?”

“No to our charity, we can get Legal involved to get a disclaimer put in so we can say a percentage of donations will go to the Food bank can’t we?”

“Of course, just wanted to make sure, should I give you the metrics in a couple of weeks?”

That’s great, so is that it?

Meeting Minutes for Monday 1 March between CEO  & Head of Campaigns

“I called you in just to ask for the final metrics for the tackling food poverty campaign?”

“Bit of a success. We raised just over £3million in the past couple of weeks, once we get the gift aid revenues from HMRC, that’s £4million and we’ve had tonnes of clicks, likes, and retweets, we were even trending on Twitter, how much should I transfer to a food bank charity?

How much did it cost in the end to run?

“All in all £1250, PR decided to use a ‘premium’ grocer. I watched one of the Vloggers videos, a bit preachy about organics but they prepared a Katsu Curry with Sticky Jasmine Rice only £7.37 per portion, can you believe it?”

How about we give £100k? 

“Sounds good, we’ll tackle food poverty again yeah?”

“Yeah it’s a good little earner and I think we have done the Food bank charity a favour, don’t you?

“Sure?”

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem. It is an experimental piece. I hope you enjoyed it.

Take it Easy,

Paul.