Busy week this week. Monday poems (tick), Martin Simpson at the folk club (tick) and still to go the National Poetry Day Plus One event (this Friday in Montrose) and then Sunday we set off south (to England...) for a week of family visiting and such like. Busy, busy, busy.
Martin Simpson at the folk club last night was, as last year, simply brilliant. I wrote about last year's performance here and he was every bit as good this time. He played a lot of tracks from his new cd 'True Stories' (not as immediate as his last one, 'Prodigal Son', but in its own way just as special) and he started his set with a song from the new album called 'Home Again' (about his home town of Scunthorpe in North Lincolnshire, England). I can't find that song online yet but his myspace page is here for information, tour dates and so on.
It was a great audience at the folk club last night and a top show of local floor spots in between Martin Simpson's two sets (there were acapella singers, guitars, a sitar...post and poem about our folk club back here, if you're interested). I read two poems – the tea one (from two posts ago) and a new one (that I'll post today). The new one is about my first home town (I've had quite a few). I felt a bit bad about the home town poem that I wrote for the Monday Poem a few weeks ago (here). I know a lot of you liked the poem but still...I felt that I owed it to some of my home towns to try and write some more positive poems on the subject too. So I started with my first home town...and this may turn into a series.
I was born just outside Darlington in county Durham (England) and I lived in or around that town until I was about 12 (when we moved miles and miles to...Middlesbrough...). Darlington is famous for being the site of the first public railway and you can read all about that here. It is my home town (in one sense) but it is not in many others – I didn't live there for long, I've never lived there as an adult, I don't have any family there and neither of my parents grew up there or anything. The poem covers all these things in a way...and it is a villanelle. I know not everyone likes them but I do...some of my best poems have been villanelles (see here). Anyway, here it is. I might record it later on for an audio version.
People talk, people sing about homeward bound Of the place where they stay, where they'd like to remain But the wheels of our lives go round and around
Take a town, Darlington, once so key and renowned As the place where they rolled out the age of the train People talk, people sing about homeward bound
The tracks of our trains may now seem run aground But in 1825 they were our future - plain The industry wheels going round and around
Locomotives moved coal and then folk by the pound All thanks to the whirring of George Stephenson's brain People sing, people long to be homeward bound
But progress takes over the wheel, so we've found From the foot to the cart, from the car to the plane Faster and further, around and around
Still we look for a home and listen for its sound Where will it be, do we know its refrain? People talk, people sing about homeward bound But the wheels of our lives they go round and around
Originally from the north of England, I live in Angus, Scotland where I walk a lot, think a lot, listen to lots of music, sometimes write poems, sometimes read poems out to other people, sometimes write songs, read all kinds of odd things, watch a bit...oh and I look after my family too.
I sometimes organise poetry and music events - details are usually here (though nothing coming up in the near future). This year I went travelling with my family - photos and notes are here. Now we're back I have moved to a new regular blog - it is here.
More about the song
You can buy my book (published 2008) from my website if you fancy it (go to 'book' page) or from www.amazon.co.uk if you prefer the comfort of the multinational corporation. My book is printed on recycled paper and card. I have 12 different poetry postcards available too.