Today I welcome Darren Beaney, one of the hosts of Flight of the Dragonfly, to talk about a poem from his debut collection.
Hi Nigel, Happy New Year to you and thank you very much for asking me to talk about one of my poems from Honey dew (Hedgehog Poetry Press, 2020)
Honey dew is a collection of 21 love poems, with the focus being on my wife Jo and our relationship. I have tried hard to write a series of poems that are not too schmaltzy or soppy, instead trying to express my feelings in my own way and in my style of writing. Most of the poems in the pamphlet were assignments for my MA in Creative Writing, including the one I have chosen to discuss – Surfin’ girl.
Surfin’ girl was one of the first poems that I wrote for the MA. I was taking a module called The Process of Publishing and one of the group assignments was to produce and publish an anthology (we also held a spoken word launch night, from which Flight of the Dragonfly was born) and this was one of the poems that I included in the finished book.
The inspiration came from a photo that I have on the wall at work. Way back (last century) when Jo and I were starting to get serious we found ourselves in a park at an Inflatable Fun Day. The picture is of Jo surfing on an inflatable surfing simulator. Every time I look at the picture I smile at her bright blue hair, younger face, beaming smile and the look of fun and pleasure in her eyes. The picture captures Jo at the start of our wonderful journey together and reminds me of why I fell in love with her.
I have tried to show Jo’s (our) journey and felt that riding the waves on a surfboard was as good a way as any to do so. Not long after the picture was taken Jo and I both decided to get educated as mature students (another story in itself) and we decided to live together – she went blond and I totally fell for her, you could say it was a wipe out… (sorry).
Jo went on to become a maths teacher, a very good one I should add, and she felt it best to revert to her natural hair colour. She won’t really mind that the next stanza tells the world that she has a few grey hairs, but the main focus here is the next part of our lives – marriage and parenthood. She loves being a mum and invests a lot of time, energy and affection into our little family.
And finally, no matter what the future holds and no matter how she looks, I know that Jo will always be the same wonderful person, lover, wife and mother (and possibly teacher if she hasn’t retired). The original picture shows Jo’s fun and carefree attitude and her love of life, just like most surfers, and the final lines empathises that even though the start of the journey was over twenty years ago she is still very much the same person inside and out.
Anyway – I best stop there. Didn’t I say earlier something about not being schmaltzy or soppy….
Next week read my review of Darren’s touching Honey Dew.