I am delighted to announce that I have a brand new book due out on December 5th 2021, published by Steve Cawte at the wonderful Impspired Magazine Press.
Please watch this space for further announcements re launch and pre-order dates, reviews and podcasts.
Immersed in Blue – the Iona Journals 2012- 2021
This book is part journal, part memoir, part travelogue, illustrated with beautiful colour photographs, comprising material written on retreat on the mystical Inner Hebridean Isle of Iona over the course of nine years. The writing is presented as a series of Haibun, a fusion of poetry and prose with a nod to the traditional Japanese prosimetric form but here updated to give a more contemporary, westernised feel.
In 2012 a miracle occurred. While searching for a painting holiday the author chanced upon a creative writing retreat on the Inner Hebridean Isle of Iona. This mystical, magical place has since become what she describe as her heart-home, a place where she feels totally at ease, happy in her skin. She has returned year on year, each time producing a course project written as a Haibun (a mix of poetry and prose), which seeks to capture the myriad faces of the island and explore its numinous beauty. In this collection extracts from her journals 2012-2021 have been selected with the intention of sharing the many sights and sounds, riches of flora, fauna and landscape that she has been privileged to experience.
Here is a mock up of the book cover, still to be completed. Special thanks go to my friend Moira Brimacombe for permission to use one of her beautiful photographs for this. It is exquisite.
Delighted to have featured as guest poet/author on several blogs lately? A couple of weeks ago I was invited to ‘Patricia’s Pen’ to talk about my recently published memoir of childhood. Here is a link to read about The Road To Cleethorpes Pier
A second guest slot featured on poet Damien B Donnelly’s blog in a section about the Hedgehog Poetry Press writers ( known fondly as Hoglets, from the poetry club’s title #CultOfTheSpinyHog.) Here I answered 11 questions about my writing life and my publications. Here is the link to that:
Currently I am fascinated by doorways and have been pursuing the idea of doorways to a post Covid future. Which bits of lockdown would we keep as improvements to our lives!p? What might we change? I have completed the first draft of a pamphlet of 13 poems on these ideas, mostly in sonnet or haiku form but not exclusively. I thought that my followers might want to take a look.
Here is the first draft of Doorways To The Future
DOORWAYS TO THE FUTURE
Taking a look at how things might be beyond Covid-19
How will our world look? How will we feel?
Once Covid steps down
from being our chief concern
New doors will open
What will we find there?
New ways of living our lives,
Changing our future?
There will be choices
to make. Stay as we were, or
forge a new pathway…
A greener future,
A kinder society,
Love to all people
What will you choose then?
Will you campaign for what
you feel strongly about?
Pause, take a fresh look
at all possibilities,
Make up your own mind!
DOORWAY TO KINDNESS,
‘Love Thy Neighbour,’ Charity Work, Community Initiatives
Each day she walks to work past his old house
Through smeary window panes she often sees
An old man in his bed, still as a mouse,
His features masked by overhanging trees.
Clearly he’s sick and desperate lying there
Alone in bed, no relatives around.
She pauses, waves to him to show her care –
He could be dead and waiting to be found?
Today’s the day she takes a chance to post
A greeting through the door, to wish him well.
It plops down echoing in the hall, where ghosts
may find and keep it, read it, who can tell?
Next day, surprise, he waits there like a child
with nurse and wheelchair, just to see her smile.
2. DOORWAY TO HONESTY
Telling it like it is, Avoiding the Blame Game
We know we should report with honesty
the things which happen causing malcontent
The easy option’s lying, being free
with truth, believing that it’s kindly meant.
But such behaviour stores up trouble ahead
The truth will out at some point, causing rage.
When lying we don’t sleep easy in our bed,
We should all speak as one from the same page.
The latest ruse is ‘gaslighting’ I’m told,
A cunning plan, a sensory assault,
Disguising truths with schemes and lies so bold
We start to think that we’re the ones at fault.
The liars must dig a hole to hide their guilt
But truthful men can keep the house they’ve built.
3. DOORWAY TO WORLD PEACE
Arbitration, Campaigning, Promoting Pacifism
Dark skies pervade a land in deep distress
Perhaps the clouds are mourning a lost love?
A sombre mood prevails, a deep darkness
The birds of peace have flown, no turtle dove
Now nests within the city’s ravaged walls
Where once so many cooed and raised their young;
The atmosphere has changed, the landscape’s soul
Is etched with grief, the victory unsung
Of heroes, warriors who have fought the cause
Now slain and buried deep within the earth.
Their quest was futile, tyranny and wars
Prevail, sweet peace is gone, we await the birth
Of justice, when the dead shall once more rise
In hope, as victory flares light up the skies
4. DOORWAY TO HUMILITY
Accepting help, Swallowing pride, Apologising
We fail to notice how our little lives
(Apportioned masterfully), run their course.
We may pretend that we are in control,
But in effect man’s choices have a source
Beyond him, which is only part revealed;
A tantalising glimpse of what might be
His future, if he follows surely on,
Towing the line and waiting, just to see
What hopes may reach fruition given time,
Ambitions realised, avenues explored,
Imagining that he has willed it so,
Whereas in truth his plans have been ignored.
A hidden compass is our willing guide
Success comes when its message is applied
5. DOORWAY TO RESPECTING BOUNDARIES
‘Me too’ issues, Personal Space, Respecting Free Will
Do not paint my portrait,
for I have a changing face
that alters with age
Do not declaim me in verse,
for I am a fledgling poet
not defined by genre
Do not photograph me,
for I am a free spirit
not confined to time and space
Do not dance my dance,
for I am a swirling ribbon
unrestricted by routine
Do not sing my song,
for I may have a new one
not yet composed
Do not aspire to know me,
for I grow in wisdom and change….
Allow me to be ME!
6. DOORWAY TO NEW OPPORTUNITIES
‘Gather ye rosebuds….’ ‘Strike while the iron’s hot’
Gently she carries us, floating downstream
Rhythmic, hypnotic, tempering the mind
Gliding in measured flow, wrapped in a dream
Past fields, trees and banks where reeds intertwine
Coot, moorhen and mallard paddle alongside
And dab chicks dive under the boat for shade
The pumping house chimney commands the sky,
Behemoth of bygones, whose pomp never fades
We squeeze under bridges, scars etched on walls
from past times when horses pulled boats along,
Then drift to the aqueduct, briefly pause,
Observing the wild life’s enchanting song…
What pleasure is ours as the world ripples past
Come then, ‘carpe diem’ – such bliss will not last!
7. DOORWAY TO COMPASSION
Supporting refugees, the homeless, the displaced, the marginalised…..
Now thirty two he’s found love, has a wife
And life has turned out better than he thought.
He learned the language quickly, though self-taught,
Did not react to bullies, get into fights
Though it was tough for him in a strange land
In early childhood, he learned to forgive,
to turn the other cheek, tried hard to live
the best he could, without a parent’s hand.
The hardship he had suffered made him strong –
To combat loneliness he’d read and write,
Became a big sensation overnight
With pithy stories, poems made into songs
Yet as a man he still missed kith and kin
And wept remembering the child within
8.DOORWAY TO A GREENER FUTURE
Caring for the Environment, our Planet, Fighting Climate Change
I am delighted with the response I have received to the release of my memoir of childhood. There are 5 star reviews on Amazon, including the one below. Copies can be bought from Amazon as paperback or as ebook downloaded to Kindle
One of my poems ‘Washday Wednesdays’, speaks about how complicated doing the laundry was in the 1940s/50s without washing machines! My Nan came to help my Mum and they used equipment which is now displayed in museums. Below you can see a photo taken at an exhibition at Lincoln Castle showing zinc tub, dollyposher ( for beating dirt out of the clothes), a scrubbing board and a tin bath. In addition ( not shown) a huge mangle was needed to put the clothes through and sting out the water before pegging out on the line. Doing the weekly laundry was a very time-consuming activity.
On windy washdays mum was stressed. Wind chimes clanked and jangled in the fierce gale. Washing flapped wildly
on the clothes line –- a string of ghostly bodies on the hangman’s gallows, bloated corpses with distorted limbs.…
In the lull between gusts you might catch the crackle of sweet wrappers in forgotten pockets, loose buttons tapping out morse-code messages.
Across the lawn crumpled leaves, as lined as Nanny Buttle’s street-map face, went chasing ceaselessly back and forth.
The tight-lipped dolly pegs swung like pendulums with each new assault. Yet their resistance proved too much
for the wind’s frenzied onslaught. He would turn on the sulking clouds with their churlish attitude… . . .
Something had to give, Someone had to bend to his will before he blew himself out.
With a frown on her face, hair tied up factory-girl style in a neat turban, my mum pushed the damp clothes through the mangle, Wilfred Pickles would often be on the radio.
I knew it was best to make myself scarce, so I would creep off to my bedroom with a book, knowing I could read my Enid Blyton tales undisturbed.
I am delighted to tell you that reaction to my new memoir has been very positive. I am currently receiving great reviews from readers who have bought and read the book.
it is available on Amazon in paperback ( £8.99) and as e-book for Kindle (£4.29). Signed author copies can be ordered from me, Margaret Royall £10.50 (in UK) to include p&p. Please email me to order: Margaretroyall@icloud.com and pay via PayPal on the link
I am really excited that the great day is very close now, just 4 days away on Weds 20th May. The Paperback copies of my book have arrived and I am now taking oreders via PayPal. Go to PayPal.com and the link PayPal.me/MargaretRoyall. The price is £10.50 to include post and packing. The memoir will also be available on Amazon and Kindle, £8.99 for paperback and £4.99 for Kindle download.
It is an unusual fusion of poetry, prose, old photographs and memorabilia. It loosely takes its form from the Japanese Haibun but is updated to a modern western style.
Here is a synopsis of what to expect
The Road to Cleethorpes Pier A Memoir in Prose and Verse
MARGARET ROYALL ‘I never missed my childhood home until the tide stopped rolling in and ochre sand no longer crunched between my toes …’
Nottinghamshire poet Margaret Royall’s new memoir is unusual. It takes the form of a ‘Haibun’ – a traditional Japanese combination of prose and poetry. Margaret says: ‘I have chosen this form deliberately. The range of Haibun is broad and frequently includes autobiography. In this case the combination of prose and contemporary poetry has allowed me to really convey the beauty of growing up by the seaside in a bygone era.’ The history: Margaret was born in 1944 to the bustle of Cleethorpes. Her world is one of family outings in a tiny Austin 7, ferry rides across the Humber, and lifelong friendships that are forged in unexpected places. Family runs like a comforting thread throughout this lovely book, and it has been illustrated with many original photographs.
Readers will enjoy the nostalgia of poems about pushing damp clothes through the mangle on washdays, the smell of gas light, and eating fish and chips wrapped in newspaper. There are also vivid descriptions of steam travel to London, and the former glory of the Grimsby fishing fleet. And finally there are many powerfully subtle, heartfelt moments conveyed by poems and extracts about the lifelong friendships Margaret has formed along the way. The Road to Cleethorpes Pier is beautiful portrait of childhood in prose and verse ‐ perfect for anyone who has dreamed of growing up by the seaside
Topical: Margaret Royall’s passion for poetry began in early childhood. Retirement brought the opportunity to pursue her writing seriously, giving voice to acute experiences of loss, grief and chronic illness.
The Road to Cleethorpes Pier is published on 20 May 2020 in ebook and paperback priced £8.99 A special hand bound hardback edition is also being produced at the publisher’s studio
Love Calls Me Home A breath of cool air kisses my brow, disturbs the tangled curls on the pillow. The heady scent of opening lilies drifts up from the garden.
Threads of childhood long ago weave complex webs behind closed lids. As the fuse catches and smoulders the kaleidoscope shifts into focus
Floating through the open window on a chill sea‐breeze in late Spring I sense invisible hands supporting me – ghost hands, male and female
I watch myself on mornings of promise wandering bare‐foot along the beach, catching the fishermen on the jetty, struggling ashore with their haul of cockles and shrimps.
Clambering down the slipway to the breakwater, I quietly stare out to Spurn point, waiting for the revolving light to flash again, for the incoming tide to fill the gullies.
The film scene plays on in my head, reliving that childhood magic, my brain erasing negative scenes between then and now, no second takes possible.
Startled, I wake again on the cool side of the bed in sheets like shrouds. The silence is deafening. Yet just for a tide‐span I was there again, back in that safe cocoon.
Bibliographic data: Published by Crumps Barn Studio, Syde, Cheltenham GL53 9PN http://www.crumpsbarnstudio.co.uk Paperback ISBN: 9781999870577 178 pages 46 black and white photographs Release date: 20 May 2020
I am now taking pre-orders for copies of my memoir above.
PayPal.me/MargaretRoyall £10.50 to include post and packing,
please contact me to order: firstname.lastname@example.org
This brings back 50s childhood memories of Washday Wednesdays at home in Lincolnshire, recalled by a poem in my memoir, out 20th May, ‘The Road to Cleethorpes Pier’. My Nan came to help my mum do the laundry and this was the equipment we needed! To read more fascinating anecdotes of post -war childhood
To order a signed copy from me : contact me: email@example.com PayPal.me/MargaretRoyall, £10.50 incl p&p. The memoir will also be available on Amazon and Kindle from 20th May
memoir #poetryand prose #old photos
social history #postwar #Lincolnshire #Cleethorpes #bedsidebooks
I am thrilled to announce that my memoir of childhood ‘The Road to Cleethorpes Pier’ is due for publication May 2020 with Crumps Barn Studio. I am really excited about this project and I have very much enjoyed writing about growing up in a seaside town on the East coast of England in the 40s, 50s and 60s. It has brought back many memories, events still vivid in my memory as well as ones I had almost forgotten. Looking out old photos to include in the memoir has been a real joy, although many are grainy and need careful restoration.
I have chosen an unusual format for the book, a fusion of poetry and prose passages as a nod to the Japanese prosimetric from called Haibun. In its traditional form it is usually a travelogue Consisting of haiku ( a Japanese’s 5-7-5 short verse form ) and prose – but I have adapted this to my own format.
Last August I revisited Cleethorpes and did some photography on the sea front. Much has changed over the years but some things are still the same. Here are a couple of photos I took from the promenade. As the resort lies at the mouth of the River Humber, a tidal river, the sea only comes up to the beach at high tide but is otherwise absent. Tourists are surprised if they arrive at low tide and cannot see the sea. The tide was out in these photos, hence no water in view.
Cleethorpes traditionally boasted five miles of golden sand. It has long been the resort of choice for holidaymakers and day -trippers from the Midlands and Yorkshire. It forms a conurbation with the larger town of Grimsby to the north, famous for its fishing industry.
photos of Cleethorpes beach showing a breakwater and the pier ( tide out)