I'm a former newspaper sub-editor, and now oversee the news and reviews sections of this website. I was shortlisted for Reviewer of the Year in the 2017 Saboteur awards. My debut pamphlet collection, 'Trainspotters', was launched in the pub at King's Cross station, and published by Indigo Dreams. I'm the organiser and co-compere with Rodney Wood of Write Out Loud Woking, a monthly open mic poetry night that meets every last Thursday of the month at the Lightbox art gallery in Woking. Other CV details: 1) Watched the second half of England's 2010 World Cup drubbing against Germany in a pub in Ludlow with the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy. 2) Backing vocals on Chuck Berry's 1972 no 1 hit, My Ding-A-Ling https://thewombwellrainbow.com/2019/10/10/wombwell-rainbow-interviews-greg-freeman/ http://sabotagereviews.com/2017/04/21/saboteur-awards-2017-spotlight-on-the-best-reviewer-shortlist/ http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/greg-freeman/4587958507 http://sabotagereviews.com/2015/03/17/trainspotters-by-greg-freeman/ 'Trainspotters' featured on local Pyrford TV Arts programme Poem on first world war website http://www.1418now.org.uk/letter/greg-freeman/ http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2012/may/04/chuck-berry-my-ding-a-ling http://www.theguardian.com/profile/greg-freeman https://twitter.com/gregfreempoet PHOTOGRAPH: DAVID ANDREW
LEARNING BY HEART It was that time of year; there would be daffodils at home, beside hedges, glowing in the rain. Labouring in the cutting, he saw them dancing. A poem they had been schooled to learn by heart. An “inward eye” … that was the trick. A railway journey back to Raynes Park, shut out the darkness, the despair of Hellfire Pass. Once, in Thai darkness, in weather that would have drowned daffodils, they camped in a padi field, beside the railway. Sodden voices in harmony, through the rain. Those Liverpool-Irish boys lifted his heart, helped him escape to Streatham rink, dancing, polished ice, swish and hiss. He guided her dancing, escorted the girl from the office through the darkness. She allowed him to caress her, feel her heart beating. He found himself thinking of daffodils. Taffy, why was he running? Slid in the rain, fell onto slashed bamboo, ruptured spleen. The railway snatched another life; impossible, military, slave, railway. After each downpour, mosquitoes dancing. Best pal married on leave, perished in the rain; one week joking, next week dead. This darkness in which no one matters. Bloody daffodils? Look out for number one, suh! Harden heart. Speedo, bashings, indifference at the heart of everything. Picks, shovels, railway driving onwards. He bought his mother daffodils, heard her laugh out loud, saw her dancing to the radio, ‘You Are My Sunshine’ in the darkness, lullabies drowned by the thunder of the rain hitting the atap huts, relentless rain seeping into bones as they lay there, hearts groaning, a life for every sleeper. Ravenous darkness. He’d whiled away time in a faraway railway ticket office; now they were dancing to another tune. Did Tokyo have daffodils, nourished by Japanese rain? A job on the railways. Don’t dare lose heart. See those comrades dancing in the darkness; a crazy gang of golden daffodils. THE BUTTERFLIES OF YORKSHIRE Colonised, old railway tracks and pits. Spread of creeping thistle and bracken. Limestone grasslands, brimstone broods; fritillaries, clouded yellows. Migrations on the Spurn peninsula. Spoil heaps, soot pollution, westward movement towards Pennines. Painted ladies that travel by night, overwintering wanderers; honeydew and damp meadows. Conservation, hibernation, extinctions. Late sightings in gardens, allotments, cemeteries, headlands, clearings. Malham Tarn, Knaresborough, Robin Hood’s Bay, Orgreave. The damage to populations wreaked by faraway eruptions. (Found poem from words in The Butterflies of Yorkshire, ed: Howard M Frost, Butterfly Conservation Yorkshire, 2005) MIDNIGHT TRAIN FROM BULAWAYO Each night the darkness arrived like a switch being flicked. And it grew cold. The dancing girls would appear and disappear; but whenever you thought they were about to conclude, the marimba band would start up again. Odd-job man, housekeeper, and two children lived at the end of the aid worker’s garden. The boy kicked a ball for hours with our lad in the yard. Dreamed of escape to play football in England. Let his feet do the earning. Bungee jumpers leaping from the bridge, deserted tourist lodges, hippos in the lake at sunset. War veterans entered government offices, to draw attention to the state of their pensions. ‘This is very odd,’ a local told us, in 1997. ‘Zimbabwe is a peaceful place.” The midnight train from Bulawayo: half-waking in the early hours somewhere in Africa, looking out of the window, glimpsing strangers leaving along dusty, well-trodden paths, bearing goods, disappearing into the dark. These three poems all appear in my pamphlet Trainspotters published by Indigo Dreams http://www.indigodreams.co.uk/greg-freeman/4587958507
All poems are copyright of the originating author. Permission must be obtained before using or performing others' poems.
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