Let's start with the sad news. Which is that, unfortunately, our middle neighbour in our block of 3 flats died of heart troubles earlier this week. He'd been waiting for a heart operation in hospital and we've visited a couple of times, but he never made it to have the actual op. I'll miss him - he could be an archetypal crusty old gent of the old school, but he was always, always fascinating. He could also be extraordinarily generous. When we moved in 17 years ago, he left a bottle of very good champagne and two rather posh glasses at our front door to help us celebrate - a gesture that always makes me smile, even today. He loved high-class wine, birds (of both varieties, in spite of his age!), poetry and Spain - and who can argue with that? It leaves a big gap in our little house, which feels much emptier today. You can find two of his marvellous books (and he wrote just as he spoke, so was always a writer who was very much in touch with his voice) on Spain and flamenco dancing here and here. Both come highly recommended.
Keeping on the subject of death and what we remember, and indeed poetry, here's this week's poem (about my father) from my poetry course:
only four minutes’ walk
and my mother’s car waits
in the car park
so I know my father is dead.
Hair blows across my face
and in the distance
I hear laughter.
The sky is so blue
and my schoolbag weighs heavy
across my shoulders.
When I take it off,
the fabric drags along the ground.
Without looking, I can name the books
that spill from it:
a Latin grammar;
They smell new.
The way spines snap
when first opened
is a memory
that prickles my skin.
I am so close to the car now.
I reach out,
take hold of the handle.
Turning to book news, I'm happy to say that Thorn in the Flesh is now available at Amazon US and Amazon UK. And I have uploaded the book trailer at YouTube.
Similarly, Pink Champagne and Apple Juice is now available with free worldwide delivery at The Book Depository. It too comes with its own book trailer - which is proving extraordinarily popular with 82 views since I uploaded it only a couple of days ago. Which just goes to show that the viewing public love comedy, jolly music and a pretty blonde girl. Must remember that for next time I write something new then!
And, finally, the latest chapter of The Prayer Seeker is now available for reading - it's on anger, as Michael finds he has much to work through. As do we all, really.
But, to end (or almost ...) with very exciting bird news, Lord H and I spent the day in Arne in Dorset yesterday - we saw some stunning sika deer, really close to, plus seven (yes, seven!!!) spoonbills, a couple of blackcaps, a few red-breasted mergansers - all of which were firsts for this year. Plus - the crowning glory and a lifetime first - a firecrest. Hurrah!
So, there are two haikus this Sunday for you:
The first signs of spring:
men on yellow bicycles;
a pink Fiesta.
It's a conundrum:
how to persuade daffodils
to unfurl their blooms.
Heck, I bet Wordsworth never had those problems, on either count ...
Anne Brooke - in fairly thoughtful mood
The Prayer Seeker's Journal - where anger finds a voice
Sorry to hear about your neighbour but you've written wonderfully about him, a real 'portrait' in a few simple words and examples. Sounds better than some of the neighbours I've had in my time.
Good news on everything else and I'm pleased to say always good service from The Book Depository so that's a good outlet.
Yes, I'll miss Robin - the "marmite man" in our flatshare sandwich. Bless him. And yes, I'm pleased about The Book Depository - they seem hugely reliable.
Love & hugs
Sorry for the loss of your neighbour, what a sweet touch, leaving the champs and glasses at your door.
A memory like that, you treasure in the heart, powerful, am sure it must have stayed in his heart too. It just goes to prove its the little kindnesses we do through life that has the long term effects.
Other news is all rather good. I was moved by the poem, so much so, I can smell the binding of the books, the weight of the school bag, the sight of the car.
Such words also go to prove what a gift you do indeed have.
Thanks, Jason. Yes, we'll miss him. Thanks so much for the good thoughts. Big hugs to you!
Very sorry to hear your news Anne. I hope you're ok?
Such a stunning poem. It's been a week for missing people here too. Wishing you the very best,
Sad about Robin, but otherwise fine, thanks, Megan! Hugs to you!
It sounds as though your neighbour had a good life, Anne, even though his death is a sad event. I like the nice touch with the champagne and glasses.
Thanks, Jilly! And yes, the champers was more than welcome. And something to drink it from too!
Sorry to hear about your neighbour, Anne.
September 1977, lovely poem.
Thank you! On both counts. Big love & hugs to you Axxx
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