Another Monday. Another Poem of the Week and by good chance a brand new poetry book recently arrived in the post. Look out for Richard Ings. His first collection, Occasional, is bursting with good things. Some wry, some sad, some playful, some serious, some simply beautiful.
It’s very hard to choose just one. For my Facebook posting (see last week’s blog: Poem of the Week: Number One) I chose a short one, a pithy six-liner called Snapshot. Here, with a bit more space, I’m typing out a longer one in the hope I’m not infringing copyright – and that you will feel persuaded to buy a copy of the book.
You don’t feel sixty and nor do I. No – you feel twenty,
pedalling towards your future, the fens flat around you.
the long, late summer days drawing to a golden close. You
arrive at Sidgwick Avenue. There’s a dozen of us,
would-be sinologists. It’s a bright October morning,
in 1972 and the revolutions is
ongoing. I’m all for it, unpacking the raffled works
of Chairman Mao my unsuspecting father won; marching
down Drummer Street arm in arm with Craig chanting, ‘Mao Zhuzi
wansui” Mao Zhuxi wansui!’ What happy fools we all were
then, as if the Sixties were still in play, as if back in
London (as I imagined it), the scene still swung. After
all, you were that Chelsea girl they dreamed of in the sticks. a
Kings Road belle. I can see you smile as Roy Harper sang, ‘sat
here with ourselves in between us’. I play it still on my
mp3, as – like a good cliche – full forty years falls away.
I should declare an interest. Richard is a friend and after years of enjoyable conversation with him and Lucy, often long into the night, I should not be surprised to discover his hitherto hidden talent as a poet. What do we talk about? Films, food, families, music, politics and the dire state of democracy in too many parts of the world, not least the UK. Richard, a Cambridge graduate in Chinese Studies with a PhD in American Studies, has a day job in the arts in London. Occasional is published by Rockingham Press, 11 Musley Lane, Ware, Herts, SG12 7EN. £5.00