Dear Friends and Subscribers, this is to thank you for all the lovely cups of coffee, and to explain the mystery to anyone who might be wondering!
As the lockdown wears on, it has dawned on me that my days of freely travelling as an itinerant poet, speaker, and general bard-at-large may be over for the foreseeable future, perhaps for a very long time. That is a sorrow in itself, but it also has some practical consequences. About half my income is derived from gigs, readings and lectures, and that has enabled me not only to write, but also to maintain this blog and other web activities in which I could offer my work freely to all comers, something I have done for over a decade, and very much hope to keep doing. I have been keen to keep this blog not only free to everyone, but also free of advertisements and so I pay a fee to wordpress to keep these pages ad-free. I realise now that I am going to have to find ways of earning part of my keep with online lectures and readings, and I am working with various universities, and other bodies who have hired me in the past to do just that. But even though I will have to find some, and soon most of my living online, I don’t want to go down the route of ‘monetising’ my blog by selling space to advertisers, it’s just not in keeping with this site. But my friend Steve Bell, showed me this lovely little thing called ‘buy me a coffee’, which is a button I can add to a blog page that allows any of my readers, should they so wish, to click through and ‘buy’ one or more virtual cups of cofffee by way of a small donation. I added it to my last post tentatively and experimentally and have been really moved by your generous response! The set amount, which I cant seem to alter, actually comes to a coffee and a nice piece of cake, and it’s just as well for me that the virtual cake is not fattening!
So this is to say that you’ll find the little button on my posts, and, if you enjoy these posts, you might like occasionally to ‘buy me a coffee’ in earnest of the day when we can actually sit down and have a proper coffee together. So here is the button, and also, a poem I wrote about the day I warmed my hands around a good warm mug of coffee in Dublin, and set off on the adventures that made me a poet. Cheers!
Now here’s the poem! As always you can hear me read it by clicking on the ‘play’ button or on the title
I look up, hands around my coffee cup,
On Grafton street in Bewley’s coffee shop,
Blue Mountain, Java and Colombian
The labels are a journey on their own
Then the aroma as they’re ground by hand,
Beans broken open. Out of every land,
Separate savours float across this room
Of dark mahogany, to a softer bloom
Of stained glass windows, where I sit apart
Warming my hands, and waiting on my heart
To call me to adventure. I have found my voice,
Yeats in my pocket, backpack full of Joyce ,
I’m nineteen, it is nineteen seventy-seven
And Dublin is the very gate of heaven.
19 responses to “Thanks for all the coffee! (And a coffee poem)”
Love the concept and was about to buy you a coffee or two, but it needs Paypal. Call me old-fashioned, or Luddite, if you will but I don’t do Paypal.
Do you have a bank account I can tip some caffeine and crumbs into?
Thanks Geoff, I realise some people have issues with PayPal tho it’s hard to avoid using them with web work. Thanks for the offer of crumbs and caffeine, though no need of course but I’ll send you my details by email
Sadly Bewley’s in Grafton Street Dublin will not reopen whenever we come out of the COVID doldrums in Dublin. They could not sustain the loss of business, much to our chagrin! Thank you for your precious memories of a 19-year-old Malcolm starting his adventures and for the photograph! I have lovely memories of Bewley’s and the beautiful Harry Clarke stained glass. Your poems are wonderful and I enjoy receiving your emails daily. Stay safe and healthy as we conquer this plague and help us find and understand our new normal as seen through your eyes, the eyes of a poet and priest 😊🙏
Many thanks Josephine though that is a great pity about Bewleys
wrote this a couple of weeks ago, I too am missing the coffee house!
A corner seat
I’m missing my usual place, a perch
at the corner table by the window
of the local coffee house, where words come
between a drink and slice of toast.
A place where incidental conversation
is made with welcome recognition
of a familiar face or two.
Surrounded by assorted chatter from adjacent tables,
disconnected strings of words
whose clatter of inconsequential meaning fills the air,
offering now and then
a phrase or two to lift and use,
without permission, words to take
a written thought in a new direction.
A place where a friendship formed
across the Tiber, expectant notes
of informality, the touch and taste
exploring situations, listening,
Time for such exchange
will come again
Thanks that’s very evocative
Thanks for the opportunity to support you. My life is richer in many ways because of all that you do as you take occasions “in the ordinary course of day-to-day life… and… make them into works of art”
Many thanks Karen
I so enjoyed this trip into your past and the literary excitement that you so aptly convey. Thank you, Father Guite!
Cyril Connolly wrote, “I should like to see the custom introduced of readers who are pleased with a book sending the author some small cash token: anything between half-a-crown and a hundred pounds ”, Enemies of Promise.
(Lest anyone think me better-read than I am, this comes from the Penguin Dictionary of Modern Quotations.)
Malcolm, it is a gift to join you in this “coffee house” online and partake of your inspirations and incantations via verse. My life is richer because of it–I’m happy to buy you a cup of coffee and, (does it exist?) a low cal slice of cake.
Many thanks. I like the idea of my blog as a coffee house! Fortunately there are no calories in the virtual cake!
Dear malcolm….I really love getting your wonderful poems, which bring the Psalms to life..I have tried to buy you a coffee but PayPal did not like me!..I will try again!.Blessings and thanks ann mcbPs our grand daughter harriet mcb. Was
Thanks Ann. Sorry about the hassles with PayPal but don’t worry just responding here also encourages me
Hey, you might want to check out patreon.com as well. It’s a platform where artists can invite patronage, a bit like crowdfunding. https://www.patreon.com/
Thanks for all the great blogs and poems. Please keep them coming.
Thanks for the suggestion. I did check it out but it seemed a bit too grand and, happily, the coffees are working out very nicely
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