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Showing posts from May, 2012

Norman MacCaig: Poetry Hero

I cannot say exactly when I first discovered Norman MacCaig.  It may have been at the beginning of this year, but could well have been at the end of last.  I found him through a tweet.  Six months or more is a long time on Twitter, and when tweets get to a certain age, they're as stubbornly elusive as a missing person who wants to stay missed.
But I know the tweet was left by poet Jo Bell, the director of National Poetry Day, and whose wonderful blog can be found here.  The link she left took me to an enthralling 25-minute interview with MacCaig.  I liked the man instantly.  I replied to Jo by saying what how charming MacCaig was.  He had a warm sparkle in his eye that only Scots seem to have access to.  He epitomised charismatic.  Unfortunately, embedding has been disabled on the video, but it can be found here
Fast forward to yesterday.  I was sat in Stanman's Kitchen on Gloucester's Westgate Street (if only all local businesses were run this well.  Their website can be …

Apocryphal: you don't know the meaning of the word!

I learnt a new word yesterday.  Exciting!  And in the true spirit of having learnt a new word, I had to share it.  So out goes a text to the people I thought would indulge my text with a response.
Word of the day: Apocryphal
Definition: Probably not true, but widely believed to be true.

My brother was first to respond, and it was with a word of his own.  Being a medical student, he likes to throw the odd esoteric item my way every now and then, coming back and expanding the theme with "word of the month."  This was a bold title, but having read the word and its definition, it was one I could not in the least bit dispute.  Consider it payback for all those years I knew more than him as his older brother, and perhaps the times I used to practice powerbombing him on our parents’ bed.
[Note: I wouldn’t recommend searching his word on Google Images, especially for those of you in the process of handling or preparing raw meat.]   
But anyway, what’s my point?  Yes: apocryphal.  The m…

Subsequent to Easter Monday

Opening the door, it’s the smell of stale grief
that greets me.  As my eyes refocus, there’s dad,
fixed to the computer screen for I don’t know
how long.  As he turns, unfamiliar ripples form
in his shirt.  He breathes me a hello; knotted,
impersonal, like a stranger on a sound check.

I found two clues in the kitchen.  The first,
a hotel booking, countered by a cancellation
number across its top.  It was dad’s hand,
though blotted with a cheap biro that needed
throwing out.  I accepted this: its prominence
there to make a point on the kitchen table. 
But it was the second that concerned me more:
there – right there next to the sink – was a
bag of McCoy's, its contents left scrutinised,
replaced, with the clinks of a former currency.