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singer, songwriter, comedian, author, poet, broadcaster and multi-instrumentalist

Daddy Edgar’s Pools

1992

Paperback: 64 pages
Publisher: Peterloo Poets (12 Oct 1992)
ISBN-10: 1871471311
ISBN-13: 978-1871471311

 

 

Daddy Edgar’s Pools

Mike’s first book with the legendary Peterloo Poets, one of the best of the small specialist presses. After many many rejections from poetry publishers Mike sent his poems to Harry Chambers of Peterloo under an assumed name Christopher O’Neil, (his middle name and his mother’s maiden name). The reason for the assumed name was that Mike was on TV quite a lot at the time and wanted his poetry to be accepted for what it was and not because he was a “face.”

When he got a letter of acceptance from Harry he came clean and admitted who who he was.

“That’s ok,” Harry said, “Ted Hughes told some of his mates that if he were an unknown poet starting out now he wouldn’t get published. So they sent some of his new poems to me under a nom de plume and I rejected them.”

The collection has some poems of childhood (Mushycat / Dancing On Toes) but also ranges far and wide in both Time (Thomas Fisher / Landfall) and Place (Salalah / In Swaledale).  
The poem below was inspired by the loss of his RAF Lancaster navigator father lost in a bombing raid over Germany in September 1944.  

 

Photofather

Beside the bowl of shrinking, puckered fruit
And the cracked pot jug that holds the rent book,
My teeth and hair and eyes look
Forward from twenty-three years of death,
Begun when parachutes burnt over Holland.
Four weeks later to the day, I wailed my way,
On points, into the all clear Anderson-world,
And began immediately to build, from your braid and bible,
A pattern of fathers. So I made you out
Of cuttings from the Eagle and the Hotspur and the Lion
And rode you up and down the German-clotted sky
Until you must have been nearly sick to death.
This way I made something, but it was like
A pub piano, alright to vamp for sing-songs
Near the fire by night, but tuneless
And nerve-jangling in the morning’s cold: a wax man
Whose wings fell off in the sun.
We rarely talked of you. I could not ask
What you were like, or felt or said –
Bits trickled through the net of pain: your motorbike,
The way you waltzed my mother through the rain
Rolling back to camp on the eastern train.

They say that I’m your spit, and yet we know
The closeness of our common grief would be
Too much. We dust your picture smile and,
Saying nothing, we construct our truths.
We have a picture of a cross somewhere
In Holland: a green hump covers up
The bits of you they found. I clutch it still,
Sensing only mystery and loss, and hold
The little that I have to make you up again,
Cast now perennial, in different, stranger moulds.

 
 

Contents

Photofather
09
Daddy Edgars Pools
10
Dust
11
Dancing on Toes
12
Icarus Daedalus
13
Mushycat
14
What Did You Learn in School Today?
15
Sparrowfart
16
Old Man Farrer
17
It has Snowed Leaves all
18
Hack
19
Old
20
Flute Player
22
Riches 23
Kells Scribe 25
In the Archaeology of the Heart 26
Cliffs of Moher 27
Thomas Fisher 28
July Barbers 30
Trees 32
Earth 33
Now Along 34
Searching for Lambs 35
Molecatcher 36
Hillfarmer 37
An Old Dalesman Foresees his Death 38
Drystone Waller 39
Falcons 40
Stoneman 42
In Swaledale 44
Fungi 45
Moors Murders 46
Drowned Cities 48
A Dream of Mermaids 50
Green 51
The Secret Life of Stone 52