Michael (my Dad) will be 84 on Christmas Day and has just got delivery of his latest anthology, The Cockermouth Poets. It’s an eclectic collection of poems from Wordsworth to schoolchildren. Many of the poems appeared on a poetry trail as individual posters put up in shop windows in Cockermouth following the bad floods they had there in 2009. As the rain pours down over the country once more and many people are suffering with floodwaters this year, it is a reminder that life is unpredictable and yet full of joy and creativity. You can hear Michael reading some of his own work on Listen up North. I am particularly fond of his poem about writing to Rita Hayworth.
He has popped one of my poems in there as it was included on the original poetry trail. If you visit Cockermouth you will find the poems on the walls of the New Bookshop on Main Street and be able to pick up a copy there and I think in Keswick at the bookshop too. All profits are going to the Cockermouth Mountain Rescue and Save the Children charities.
My attempts at poetry are usually kept separate from this blog but I thought I would give my Dad a little puff of publicity. He works so hard at his books and it has been a long year. He often torments me by asking me to do a little typing and I end up scouring the internet for poems and information about the poets, but it is always a pleasure to help out and argue about words and the provenance of poems with my Dad.
Here is my poem as it appeared on the Trail in the window of the wine bar in the poem. When the floods came Michael was on the other side of the world…
Some places where people are writing about The Cockermouth Poets:-
Martin Wainright’s Guardian Northerner Blog about’ The Cockermouth Poets’. He makes me smile when he writes about how Baron is very good at getting people to do things….
The wonderful Listen Up North mentions the book here and links to us too, most honoured!
If I thought I’d be here in a 100 years, I’d buy a house high up on a hill and hunker down – the world is melting, and nobody seems to notice – yet.
Be well Jo – enjoy the holidays.
it was supposed to end yesterday wasn’t it? enjoy your holidays too Doc !
Your poem is tight with tension with a wonderful release in the last line. Lovely piece of writing. Best wishes to your father, Joanna.
Thanks Misky, Christmas Day is also when my own mother died. So it is just full of ‘stuff’. xx
I love the lake district, but don’t think I’m going back to Keswick anytime soon.
I loved listening to your father reading his poems- thanks for sharing that link!
And (since I’m so loving right now!) I loved your poem. I find it very hard to have to worry about empty houses and water damage- but that seems to have become part of my life.
I also enjoy the tug and release of language with those I care deeply for, so I smile and nod my head at your sentence ending “argue about words and the provenance of poems with my Dad.”
Great to hear from you, Joanna!
I wasn’t expecting you to nip over and buy it on Christmas Eve somehow Heidi, particularly now you have all that snow ! There are bad floods in fact today in the South West and villages cut off and there is more rain expected. It’s funny listening to him, I know him so well and the cadences of his voice but I like that he has done that. Have a lovely Christmas xx
Happy Birthday to your father but I do always feel sorry for people born on Christmas Day! xx
He gets double presents and no one ever forgets his birthday, believe me :)
Happy Birthday Michael! I enjoyed reading about him – someone I would really like to have a conversation with. I still have my school copy of Palgrave’s Golden Treasury! I loved Writing to Rita (not had time to listen to them all yet). I am not quite as old as your Dad but I can remember barrage balloons, gas masks etc. I have to admit that I once sent away for a photo of Danny Kaye…
Loved your poem too – must be awful to be flooded and the mess afterwards takes years to clear up. It will not be a very happy Christmas for some.
I will say thanks on his behalf Ann! My sister showed him the post this morning and he said I had the date wrong, so I’ve changed it. I liked Danny Kaye too :)
Beautiful writing! Happy holidays darling, and best wishes to your lovely dad for a wonderful birthday! Much love.. xxx
Thanks Celia, all the best to you and yours too xx
Your father is a brilliant poet & it was a privilege to record him for listenupnorth.com & good luck with ‘The Cockermouth Poets’. Love your poem ‘Messages’ . Rachel (Celia’s writer)
I just read him your comment over the phone and I could ‘hear’ him blush. Thankyou Rachel :)
How exciting!! I didn’t know your dad was a poet! I’m off to find out more about him.. because I hear his daughter is a fabulous poet as well:D I loved your poem.. I love how they made a bit poster of it for the window as well. Your words and the rhythm of your poem is lovely!! You’re so talented!! xxx Smidge
Thank you, very sweet of you Smidge xx
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