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Local hero, a Cuban bird, and a long poem of many colours

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In the first of what we hope will be regular reports from Write Out Loud correspondents from around the regions, Jeanne Gimblett writes about a memorable recent gathering of Cornwall's Indian King Poets:   

Despite the dark clouds over Cornwall as St Jude lurked on the horizon Saturday 26 October 2013 was a special day for Indian King Poets.  It was a longstanding performance date but unusual because our guest poet, Terence Dooley, pictured, had just his poem ‘Tocoloro’ published in the autumn issue of Long Poem magazine. Terry is a member of Indian King Poets. We were all very proud of his achievement as we basked in reflected glory

Thirty members, friends and entrapped customers filled the Relish cafe  in Wadebridge, north Cornwall, at 4pm. Replete with tea and cakes we were ready to be fully engaged with Terry’s reading of his poem.  He told us that Tocoloro was one of the three most beautiful birds in the world, along with the humming bird and the bird of paradise. It is very shy and rare, and is the national bird of Cuba, its bright plumage thought to reflect the Cuban flag: blue for the Atlantic, green for land and red for the blood shed  in its liberation struggles. Terry, an accomplished translator, said that Tocoloro’s name resembles the Spanish for “I touch gold” or ”every colour”.

The poem has 15 sections. Terry wrote it over a few months.  I felt this poem encapsulated the mystery of the bird and the frailty of humanity. After further refreshments we had an open mic where members and visitors read their own work. We were delighted to have so much enthusiasm. Our entrapped customers stayed on and the next day we received the following piece from  someone who had never been to a poetry performance before:-


Coffee & Cake

The welcoming doorway, warmth of the common theme.

Wrappings and scarves placed on chairs, friendly smiles and embraces.

A kindly nod to a stranger. Is he with us?

Quiet chatter rustling paper, scribbling last minute notes, guest speakers and the regular gang. Settled and soothed by hot drinks, ready to stand to the room.

Heart-warming truths, deep, honest readings. From military wars to losing fights with carpet-grippers.  Intriguing, fascinating, personal and enjoyable!

One after another, first, second, third…..

but who knew there was so much to say about a big Cuban bird !

from Mark Higman


and from a visiting poet:

“I so much enjoyed [the] Saturday session at Relish cafe - would love for you to make it [a] regular, quarterly - or more often! - event!”    (Meg Lamond)


Indian King Poets will be reading at Relish in the new year, on a date to be announced






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Diana Smith

Mon 4th Nov 2013 15:08

Thanks for this, Jeanne. It's a very welcoming poetry group, and I'm sorry I couldn't make it to this event. Will definitely try to be there next time!

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