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.

Weekends At The Club

Quid in the jukebox
The Jam, Bowie, Queen, Elvis –
Presley – not Costello

grass-green baize
torn and twisted in places
twenty pence a shot
free on Saturday afternoon
when it’s a fiver-a-man tournament
winner takes all
no chalk for the cues though

footy on the telly screens
piracy definitely
we don’t complain
it’s the best pint in town
and they do pork scratchings

they’ve got a bloke
who does runs to the bookies
backs himself to return the betslip
in under 10 minutes
he gets a drink either way

the old gagdies tell tales
of when they worked the shipyards
or some down the pits
they shake your hands every time
theirs brittle –
scarred with hard graft
and union strikes

sometimes it gets rowdy
when the domino crowds in
accusations of cheating
to win a 2 quid pot
it soon settles down
like the best pint in town.

*******

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, inspired by weekends and evenings spent in the social club in my hometown, which are an important part of the North, unfortunately declining in recent years. If you get the chance, pay one a visit, and sign up with them depending on their membership requirements.

Take it easy,

Paul

Dedication

I felt it was an insult that
each new street
was named after
a different species of tree
they chopped down
a lasting dedication to
rapid decimation
of the ancient woodland and hedgerow
their deaths were dealt so swiftly
that the hawthorn berries
didn’t even get time to bleed.

Now when I walk past
Oak Avenue, Ash Drive & Beech Terrace
each brimming with life
I think of the bricks, mortar and glass
I believe the woodland remains
just in a different guise
and the dedication isn’t an insult
but a celebration of what came before
that the trees that once thrived there
are a solid foundation for new roots to form.

Thanks for taking the time to read this poem, feel free to leave a comment if you wish.