Climbing the Malverns

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Picking strawberries, soft fruit caking jeans,

socks nibbled by something in the barn at night.

On a free Saturday, after Friday night revels,

accompanied by hangovers we climbed the Malverns,

all Herefordshire and Worcestershire beneath our feet.

 

You were a schoolmate I didn’t know too well.

I bowed to your knowledge of British blues bands,

admired your cool. We tried it on with the Irish girls,

then walked on the beacon, wind wiping

school slate clean, landscape misting in the distance.

 

I had this plan of hitching to Cornwall;

you had it all mapped, a job in cartography.

Children of the suburbs and the Kingston bypass.

White boys’ blues from the Thames delta;

black magic guitar of New Malden’s Peter Green. 

 

Life happened to you. The early wedding:

I look at the picture, the long-gone friends.

Afterwards you headed west. Occasional news.

Children, divorce, another marriage, more kids.

Out of the blue, a school reunion; that old, lazy smile.

 

A few years later, another message came. Now,

in first flush of our son’s vows, we find ourselves

climbing the Malverns in apple harvest time.

Confetti showers of October leaves. The love

we saw in their faces. Albatross on the pub jukebox.

I raise my glass of cider, Kevin, remembering you.

 

◄ VE Day anniversary 2020

Liberation, 1945 ►

Comments

penguin

Wed 16th Sep 2020 09:15

Good poem, Greg. Malvern is where I live. I read somewhere recently that at 338 yards high the Worcestershire Beacon just about qualifies as a mountain. It seems unlikely, though.

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raypool

Tue 15th Sep 2020 19:25

The unmistakeable long look back, the sweet nostalgia of true experience and an almost Betjemanesque love for detail make this a real goodie Greg in your delightful loping style.

Ray

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trevor homer

Tue 15th Sep 2020 14:52

Struck a chord there mate [pardon the pun]. Poetry should be thought provoking, and this does just that. The line up featuring Jeremy Spencer [?] was brilliant.

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Greg Freeman

Fri 31st Jul 2020 00:07

Thanks, Trevor. Not many guitarists have been able to match Peter Green, to be fair!

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Kevin T.S. Tan

Thu 30th Jul 2020 22:23

You're welcome Greg. Thank you for responding

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Trevor Alexander

Mon 27th Jul 2020 15:55

I bought the sheet music for Man of the World when it came out, as I was trying to teach myself to play guitar. Sadly, all I ever achieved was strumming a few chords rather than the eloquent expression of Peter Green's playing. But I loved (and still do) the Fleetwood Mac of that era. I get that this is really about your school friend, but the hommage is pleasing.

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Greg Freeman

Sun 26th Jul 2020 20:19

Thanks very much, glad you liked it, Leon and Andy. And thanks Jordyn, Shifa and Stephen for the Likes.

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Andy N

Sun 26th Jul 2020 18:58

Great stuff Greg. Love the two layers here. Powerful stuff (Expected little less when I started on it)

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LEON STOLGARD

Sun 26th Jul 2020 17:43

HIGH 5's Greg 👍



L.S.

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Greg Freeman

Sun 26th Jul 2020 11:07

Yes. it's the emotion there, isn't it, John. I think 'Man of the World' is the most desolate of songs, but also so beautiful. Keep looking for that albatross, Brian! But not armed with a crossbow.

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Brian Maryon

Sun 26th Jul 2020 09:30

I live in the shadow of the Malverns (well almost...Worcester) and have climbed them many times. Philippos they're not mountains! You see buzzards avnd red kite. I've yet to see an albatross. The song was during my formative years in the 60s, though as I remember the decade I could not have been there!

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John Coopey

Sun 26th Jul 2020 07:59

In my view the most under-rated of guitarists. Not technically. But you could feel the torment of his soul in his playing. It gives me goose pimples. “Need Your Love So Bad” is, in my view, the sexiest song ever.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 25th Jul 2020 22:58

It's not a stupid comment, Kevin. Thank you for your kind remarks. Many, many people love Albatross. It's simple and serene. I'm biased, but I truly believe the 1960s was a remarkable decade, if only for music. Phil, what happened at Uluru / Ayers Rock?

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Kevin T.S. Tan

Sat 25th Jul 2020 22:05

my name is Kevin and I love Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. Sorry, stupid comment but it's a really great poem. The 20th century had this kind of magic. No mobile phones, no internet. I have many friends twice my age (34) and we often talk about it and share stories and music. It's the best!

A nice tribute

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Philipos

Sat 25th Jul 2020 20:47

Who couldn't enjoy something as nostalgic as this! I can remember sprouting long hair and the tash - cool as cats or what?

Don't do the mountains any more - not after the drama at Ayers rock back a ways.

P.

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Greg Freeman

Sat 25th Jul 2020 20:35

In memory of Peter Green ... This poem is really about a schoolfriend who died far too young. He was an expert on the English blues of the 60s. But it's kind of about Peter Green, too.

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