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.