All you need is love

 

“All you need is Love” The Beatles

When I woke up on Tuesday to the news of the bombing at the Manchester Arena I was All-You-Need-Is-Love-the-beatles-lennon-mccartney-harrison-starr (1)struck dumb with the enormity of it. That someone could be so cruel, so emotional removed, that they could target a concert full of children leaves me numb. I can not speak for the people of Manchester or even begin for a minute to imagine what the families who were there are going through.

It was 25th June in 1967 when the Beatles did “All You Need is Love” on the TV. It was the first live international satellite television broadcast and I remember how I thought the message was so clear and so true. It seems naive today but in many ways I still think it is true. reading the posts on Facebook this week I noticed a fellow poet Mandy Maxwell also mentioned thinking of this song

My poem this week is simply an attempt to put  into words how I feel.

All You Need is Love

Sadness sits on me like a shroud

Dull with the weight of it

Thoughts confused and distracted

Helpless with the scale of it

Stumbling through the day

But

I rejoice in those who rushed to care

Communities whose heart is bigger than a bomb

Finding hope in acts of compassion

From the darkness there is vision

From the quiet there is a voice

From the noise there can be peace

From the violence there is humanity

All you need is love.

All you need is love.

All you need is love, love.

Love is all you need.

© Jeff Price May 2017 additional words John Lennon and Paul McCartney

The day we became orphans

Meet on the Ledge. Fairport Convention

I am ten weeks into this blog. At the beginning I didn’t have a strong idea of how the blog2162 would turn out just a commitment to writing a new poem every week for the next 70 weeks. Looking back over the poems, I realise what I am writing is a sort of poetic autobiography. The music element has anchored the poems to certain events from my past and brought back memories I believed buried.

I have also been amazed at the global reach of the blog. I have had views from the US, France, Holland, Japan, New Zealand and even Saudi Arabia. I also had a very encouraging email from someone in Australia. Thank you to you all. Please feel free to email me with any comments or observations, they are all appreciated. 

This week’s track is Fairport Convention’s “Meet on the ledge”.  There is much of my life that has faded and is either lost or at best vague but some memories are so visceral that they will probably remain with me forever. The day my Mother passed away is one of those times. She had suffered for many years from Motor Neurone Disease and although her death was extremely sad for her family and friends it was a great release for her.

To listen to an audio recording of this poem click here

The day we became orphans

 

We stood bereft in the hospice

Saying goodbye to you

You had been fading for years

From sharp daybreak contrast

Into a dim moonlit shadow

 

Over a decade later

My memories have not faded

Occasions, I pleased you

Times, I disappointed

Days, I made you proud

 

You still remind me

To make the best of myself

That opportunities are for taking

That just being takes courage

That you can cast a long shadow

© Jeff Price May 2017

 

© Jeff Price May 2017©

Communion Wine

Wine with Dinner Loudon Wainwright III

I am huge fan of Loudon Wainwright and have been listening to him since the early 70’s loudon-wainwright-iii-picturesand his music has provided a soundtrack to my life. Although his experiences are not the same as mine, his songs of love and loss have echoed my feelings on many occasions.  It was difficult to pick a song but as I listened this track I remembered being an altar boy at St Roberts and preparing the priests robes in the sacristy and secretly sipping the communion wine. 

I am not a good drinker, I get terrible hangovers and I have learnt over the years to hold back but I still like a glass of wine or pint of beer but I enjoy it best when sitting around a dinner table with family and friends or in a bar chewing the fat with an old friend.

To listen to an audio recording of this poem click here

Communion Wine

 

In the sanctuary of the sacristy

An altar boy sips the sweet communion wine

Later he tops up the bottle from a tap

It wasn’t only Jesus who could turn water into wine.

 

Years later he plays Monopoly on a Sunday night

In a sweaty student flat in Jesmond

Passing around demijohns of Spanish Carafino

Like he’s swigging moonshine in Bayou bog

 

One work night in a Harrogate hotel

When a misguided boss let him order the wine

He washed down his steak and chips

With a bottle of vintage Nuit St George

 

Dinner parties in the eighties

With a Chianti that came in a straw clad bottle

That someone alway took home to make into a table lamp

But never did.

 

Now he drinks a bold, dangerous and expensive Italian Amarone

Or a Rioja that wants to have a fight with you over a steak

He carouses with a Cahor wine on a French terrace at sunset

But his idea of heaven is communion with a friend over a pint of Yorkshire Bitter

 

©Jeff Price May 2017

 

 

 

Never Knowingly Undersold

 

The Specials Ghost Town

When I left school at 16 my Father told me that I had a job starting on the next Mondayspecials morning at Bainbridge’s, a large department store in the centre of Newcastle. I protested that I hadn’t even had a holiday but he told me that if I lived in his house I had to pay my way and that meant a job.

Bainbridge’s was the first department stores in the world started in 1862 and in 1952 it became part of the John Lewis Partnership. In 1964 it was in Market Street Newcastle moving ten years later to Eldon Square.

I loved my time working there, I had money in pocket and the delights of Newcastle to explore with its nightclubs and bars. The town of 1964 was very different to the one today, so much of that vibrant city has been lost, crushed and homogenised but, if you explore the back streets and alleys you might hear the Animals “House of the rising Sun” pounding out from the Club A-GoGo or smell the hashish smoke in the Handyside Arcade.

To listen to an audio recording of this poem click here

 

Never Knowingly Undersold

 

She was one hundred and fifteen when they got married

He moved in with her over fifty years ago

When she lived in a warren of corridors and rooms

That stretched from Market Street to the Bigg Market

 

From the start, it was a trendy modern relationship

They called it a Partnership

Even when they moved up market

To the concrete caves of Eldon Square

She kept her family name above the shop door

 

Now, we can not call it Bainbridge any more

The signage and bright lights are all the same

As those seen in any city shopping centre

The interior design the same from North to South

The content of the racks and shelves identical

 

I want to shuffle around arcades of small shops

Run by the people you pay your money to

I want to buy my poetry from Ultima Thule

Pop in for some politics in the “Days of Hope” bookshop

Or share a comic moment with Chris in “Time Slip”

 

The planners have forgotten what we like about Newcastle

Isn’t that all the shops are the same as any other city

It’s the differences that people come here for

Let’s make room for the individual, bazaars for the bizarre

Malls for the malcontent and choices for the choosy

 

©Jeff Price May 2017