Creativity runs in the family….
A number of years ago I agreed to write a series of poems. That series has never got any further than rough notes and a very loose plan. The plan had been to pen around twenty short poems, perhaps more accurately described as verses, to fill a small book that my mum had made. I have always thought that my own creativity has been passed on to me by mum, although I will never be as talented as she is. Over the years, she has tried her hand at so many different arts and crafts; some she has mastered (she probably wouldn’t agree, she is far too modest), and some she is still trying to master. Her speciality, and love, is lace-making – which I may share some examples of in a future post.
This planned series of poems was inspired by two things: a hand-made book and a favourite uncle (not that he is a thing of course). The small book is filled with hand-made blank paper pages, painted with a pale wash; these pages are hand-stitched together. The cover images are crafted in a form that is called stumpwork – a raised form of embroidery. Open the little book and a beautiful inner lining is revealed; this is purchased paper but is still hand-made and painted. My plan is to fill this book with poems or verses, and the collection will be titled – ‘Memories at the Five Bar Gate.’
So, where does my uncle come into the story? Well – he is the major inspiration for the poems. Uncle Allan, who sadly passed away in the May of 2015, was one of my favourites. He was a kind man, always had a joke or two to share, enjoyed a pint of Somerset cider, and was at one, in and with the countryside. And it is the countryside that will provide the theme for the series of poems. Uncle Allan was a man of the countryside; he knew about birds, especially hawks, of which he had kept a number over the years, animals, trees (which I adore), plants of all types and the weather. As mum passed on her creative genes to me, perhaps Allan passed on his love of the countryside and all things in it.
The poems are going to be a random collection of countryside thoughts, dreams, and imaginings. The two main characters will be based on myself as a boy growing up and spending time with my uncle. We will be creating memories together and ultimately they will be treasured times remembered. The actual verses will be fictionalised memories, but based on the times I spent with Uncle Allan. I plan to post each of the verses as they are written, here at bristol2bright.com although they will not be written or posted in any particular order. I have already posted one called ‘Alone – A Sad Farewell (Winter Now)’ https://bristol2brighton.com/2020/04/04/alone-a-sad-farewell-winter-now/. For regular visitors or anyone passing through ‘From Bristol to Brighton & Bach’, any comments or thoughts on these poems would be greatly appreciated. I guess this will be a way of testing them out before I commit to hand-writing them into the special little book.
‘Memories at the Five Bar Gate’ will I hope, be a lasting memory of the life and times of a man I greatly miss, an uncle who has not graced us with his presence for nearly five years. Uncle Allan – your smiling face and your love of the countryside, will always be with me. In my mind, I see us both; you towering above me when I was a boy, and eventually, both as adults, stood together, leaning on and creating memories, ‘Memories at the Five Bar Gate’.