Anyway, I'm very pleased to play host today and extend a warm welcome to Guernsey-based poet, Richard Fleming. Richard grew up in Northern Ireland but has made Guernsey his home. He's written verse for many years, had numerous pieces published or broadcast and taken part in poetry readings at local and international festivals. You can find many of his poems in the BBC archive, and others can be found in assorted publications throughout the UK and Channel Islands.
I have a couple of Richard's books - the back-to-back collection The Man Who Landed / The Boy Who Fell Upwards (a joint publication with UK-based poet Peter Kenny) and his own collection, Strange Journey. Both showcase his remarkable precision with words and a keen eye for the kind of detail that stir the emotions. Richard was kind enough to host one of my "lost" stories a couple of weeks ago, and I'm very happy to be able to return the favour and share one of his poems with my readers here.
ORIGINAL SINCatechism came with porridgeon Sunday mornings, then.Questionand Answer.What is man’s chief end?A lifetime later, adult, grown,I have the forthright answer still:To glorify our God, amen.How those morning pictures linger.With hair slicked down and parting straight,scrubbed knees, nails free of grime, clean hands,in Sunday Best, clean underpantsand vest, black brogues with Bible shine,I went with hymn-book to the churchthen into Sunday School we troopedlike little soldiers off to war,while parents stayed for Hell-Fire wordsand promises of Satan’s wraththat they, in turn, would promise us.Grey were the Sundays of my youth:shut shops, shut faces, shuttered hearts.A football kicked would damn to Hell.A comic read, a careless laugh,would be recorded in God’s book.Guilt was instilled and mortal fear.I haven’t yet got off the hook.
If you enjoyed that, please go and have a look at Richard's blog, where he posts interesting observations and reminiscences as well as other examples of his work, including one of my favourites, Suitcases - the opener from Strange Journey.