Now it's not everyday that a very famous poet, perhaps the most famous contemporary poet, walks into your shop. I've been a fan of the Liverpool poet, and presenter of Radio 4's Poetry Please, Roger McGough for many years and I swear I've no idea how I didn't recognise him when he came to Tonbridge last year. He was performing his anthology Everyday Eclipses at Tonbridge school that evening and I was going to see him that evening; I'd even wondered earlier in the day whether or not he might stumble across my bookshop. It could have been that he was just an ordinary looking bloke in the flesh or that perhaps all the pictures you see of him are at least twenty years old. Whatever the reason it was only when he mentioned at the book signing after his performance that he had been in "the little book shop down the side street" that suddenly it clicked that he had eclipsed my doorway. I felt a poem coming on a few days after his visit; so as Pam Ayres used to say: ere's another one of me poems....
Not an Everyday Eclipse
Poetry please? (They should have said.)
“Quiet Izzy, there’s people in the shop!”
(I say, in hushed tones, to my daughter)
“Do you have a history section?”
“Over in the corner, lots of it.”
Izzy (whispers) “That old man has an ear ring!”
“Lots of people have ear rings” I whisper back,
“They’re not just for girls!”
“These two please,” the two men say;
“£17.50,” I say;
(A bit high brow for Tonbridge) I think to myself,
“See you,” I say.
Izzy was right, that old man did have an ear ring,
And his mate….
Why didn’t they ask for poetry please (I would have guessed it then!)
McGough, yeah, echoes from Merseyside, was in my shop,
Eclipsing my doorway for a fraction of two seconds
Once in and once out.
If you want to hear some poetry from the man himself, Roger Mcgough is performing at the Community Centre, Bat and Ball, Sevenoaks this Saturday, as part of the Sevenoaks Arts Festival. If you are lucky you might just be able to grab one of the few tickets remaining. I've got mine....