jingle jingle!

jingle jingle!

31.1.14

TREVOR



This is a special man
who spends his life entirely
searching for clues to all of it
outside the teeming box.
He rants from the obscure corners
where no one else dares,
rummages down lanes 
where most folk fear 
to walk,
looking for a special meaning,
a hint of a jewel 
in the pervasive rubbish.
A walk with him 
will lead you
into beautiful gardens,
alternative libraries
and abstract galleries.
His voice
is his own 
unique instrument,
dulcit in the sun
of blooming vineyards
and birdsong.
His thoughts
refresh
the universe
with their original
melodies.
Listen to him,
to the deepness
in his soul,
to the reverence
in his wise and seaching eyes.





KEITH ARMSTRONG



26.1.14

I AM THE UNSUNG SINGER


(to Isaac Gosschalk)



'A conflict between God and the Devil is raging in the Museum, a conflict between life and death, between heaven and hell, a struggle in celestial realms.' 
(L.P. Dovenbos)


I am the unsung singer
begging for the bones
of a tune
at the feet of the barrel organ
of E.F. van Polen.
Scouring the plains,
that stretch from Groningen to the Urals,
I am looking for a song
in this strange land.

Is it in the heart of gorgeous Annemarie de Groot?
Or in the pen of poet Jaap Pijper?
How many more times must I trail
my clapped-out fingers
over the luscious skin of a girl called Nynke
to feel the happiness I had as a child?

If I feed my voice with the guts of the sea in the Vismarkt,
if I scrape my fingernails along bleeding Folkingestraat,
I might find a lyric,
a drunk ballad,
a play of passion,
to set the Drama Department ablaze
with true music.

My God! Is there no end to it?
This lust to suck harmony from women's throats.
It takes me trudging down Sledemannerstraat,
it makes me grope doorways along Turfstraat to find her,
to squeeze the good fruit of her.

You may say that I'm a hopeless drunk,
swept along by the irate Groningen wind,
who throws death down his neck in O'Ceallaigh's,
who throws lighters at burnt-out musicians;
who dances naked in a Casino of Torture,
who lies locked in the warm arms of a student,
with the curtains rattling
like snakes in the soaking night.

Well, I claim the right to destroy myself
before your Great Army of Culture gets me
and traps me in stone.
Look! It's a picture of me!
Snogging a pretty lesbian in the Concert Hall,
as the blazered ranks of your Male Voice Choir
mime another folk song.

'Panis Angelicus,
Oh bread of Angels,
prepared for men'.

I'm the Devil in the bowels of the Martinikerk,
I am sweet and I am dry.
I'm the kind of kind guy,
with a Metworst in my angry mouth,
who robs a beggar of his poetry in Tuinstraat,
who snatches the melody from street-singer Jan Roos.

Come with me,
Kees Korenhof
and Herman Finkers,
down Nieuwstad in all the strangled darkness,
to grip that Frisian whore's suspenders,
lift guilders from the canal banks
and jenevers from the Sea.

City of Knowledge,
your hooded man
is always at my shoulder,
and your songbird's always
pecking at my heart.
Let the warm breath of your tired farmers
sigh in the breeze
and teach me
to sing an anthem again.



KEITH ARMSTRONG


Hi Doctor Keith!
Thanks for the poem straight from the heart!


Greetings, Maria




18.1.14

JINGLING IN LIMERICK!


Limerick Writers' Centre session - features Dominic Taylor's version of my 'Chief Executive Rat'!

Interesting that the Chief Executive of Limerick Capital of Culture has just resigned!



16.1.14

JINGLING GEORDIE UPDATE!





























DOCTOR KEITH ARMSTRONG

Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he has worked as a community development worker, poet, librarian and publisher, Doctor Keith Armstrong now resides in the seaside town of Whitley Bay. He has organised several community arts festivals in the region and many literary events. He is coordinator of the Northern Voices Community Projects creative writing and community publishing enterprise and was founder of Ostrich poetry magazine, Poetry North East, Tyneside Poets  and the Strong Words and Durham Voices community publishing series.
He recently compiled and edited books on the Durham Miners’ Gala and on the former mining communities of County Durham, the market town of Hexham and the heritage of North Tyneside. He has been a self employed writer since 1986 and he was awarded a doctorate in 2007 for his work on Newcastle writer Jack Common at the University of Durham where he received a BA Honours Degree in Sociology in 1995 and Masters Degree in 1998 for his studies on regional culture in the North East of England. His biography of Jack Common was published by the University of Sunderland Press in 2009. 
He was Year of the Artist 2000 poet-in-residence at Hexham Races, working with artist Kathleen Sisterson. He has also written for music-theatre productions, including ‘Fire & Brimstone’ (on painter John Martin), 1989, and ‘The Hexham Celebration’, 1992, both for the Hexham Abbey Festival. He appeared again at the Hexham Abbey Festival in 2008 reciting the poetry of Hexham poet Wilfrid Gibson.
His poetry has been extensively published in magazines such as New Statesman, Poetry Review, Dream Catcher, and Other Poetry,  as well as in the collections The Jingling Geordie, Dreaming North, Pains of Class, Imagined Corners, Splinters (2011) and The Month of the Asparagus (2011), on cassette, LP & CD, and on radio & TV.  He has performed his poetry on several occasions at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at Festivals in Aberdeen, Bradford, Cardiff, Cheltenham (twice at the Festival of Literature - with Liz Lochhead and with 'Sounds North'), Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, Greenwich, Lancaster, and throughout Britain. 
In his youth, he travelled to Paris to seek out the grave of poet Charles Baudelaire and he has been making cultural pilgrimages abroad ever since. He has toured to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Iceland (including readings during the Cod War), Denmark, France, Germany (including readings at the Universities of Hamburg, Kiel, Oldenburg, Trier and Tuebingen), Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Cuba, Jamaica and Kenya.
He has read several times in Limerick and in Cork, Dublin, Kinvara, Fermoy and Galway. His Irish adventures have inspired him to write a sequence of poems based on the places he has visited and the people he has met. With Dominic Taylor, he co-edited the anthology ‘Two Rivers Meet, poetry from the Shannon and the Tyne’ which was published by Revival Press as part of the exchange between Limerick and Keith’s home city.

14.1.14

POEM FOR A LOCAL HISTORIAN



(in memory of Jim Kemmy 1936 -1997)

‘Old people mumbling
low in the night of change and of ageing
when they think you asleep and not listening -
and we wide awake in the dark,
as when we were children.’

(Desmond O’Grady)


'It was poignant, 
when walking away from the graveyard 
that very warm midday, 
that the only sound which could be heard 
after he was buried 
was that of a member of his trade, a stonemason, 
simply chipping away
at a monument.'

(Mary Jackman)



In this city, in every town, in every village,
there is this man
dusty with archives
and old snapshots;
this deep fellow
who digs out truths from scraps,
who drinks from a bowl of swirling voices
and makes sense of things,
makes sense
when all else 
lies in chaos.

In his dreams,
wars are not dead.
They scream
from his books.
He will not let
the suffering go -
he owes the children that.
There is something noble 
in his calling,
in his bearing.
His work is beautiful.
In this particular place,
you can call him 'Jim'.
You can see his face forever
in the autumn leaves,
the leaves of books,
and the dance of history,
a local historian
and carver of tales
so memorable
that every street must value his love:
the love of our people though the ages,
the love of learning,
the search for dignity
that underpins these lanes.

In Limerick,
Jim's imagination still blossoms
and keeps us rooted
in the drift of memory.
He teaches us lessons.
Listen to his spirit breathe
deep as the Shannon.
His voice forever flies
with the power of knowledge.


'Beautiful dreamer wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for Thee.'




KEITH ARMSTRONG



13.1.14

HARTLEY PIT DISASTER JANUARY 16TH 1862

































‘What was it there on Hartley heap, caused the mother and child to weep?’ (George Cooke)


Cold January’s gripped our throbbing hearts and torn them.
Still the sea rolls on.

This earth’s bowells stink of our loved one’s deaths,
the air tastes foul.
Still the sea rolls on.

They don black gloves,
drag out the bodies one by one.
The death-stained faces seem to smile.
Still the sea rolls on.

We are the widows of Hartley,
our men and boys are dead,
our lives cracked open,
damp corpses in our beds.
Still the sea rolls on.

We clutch cold messages from Dukes and Queens,
we wipe the coal dust from our widowed eyes.
The coffin makers’ heavy hammers beat,
keep time with lapping parlour clocks,
and still
the sea rolls on,
still the sea rolls on.

Still the sea,

we are the widows of Hartley,
our men and boys are dead.

Take away your stumbling words and

GIVE US BREAD.



KEITH ARMSTRONG

11.1.14

HERMANN HESSE IN THE GUTTER































KEITH ARMSTRONG 
HERMANN HESSE IN THE GUTTER
Tübingen Poems (1987-2007)

In this new poetry selection, poet Keith Armstrong from the North East of England reflects on twenty years of visiting Durham’s twin city of Tübingen in Baden-Würtemburg.
Armstrong worked for six years as a Community Arts Development Worker in East Durham and studied at the University of Durham for fifteen years, culminating with his doctoral award in 2007.
In his youth, he travelled to Paris to seek out the grave of poet Charles Baudelaire and he has been making cultural pilgrimages abroad ever since. He has toured to Russia, Georgia, Bulgaria, Poland, Iceland (including readings during the Cod War), Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Ireland, Spain, Sweden, Czech Republic, The Netherlands, Cuba, Jamaica and Kenya. 

His poetry has been translated into Dutch, German, Russian, Italian, Icelandic and Czech. 

These poems reflect his love of Tübingen and the friends he has made there.

‘Now we are all able to read these poems. We are happy that Keith Armstrong has realised a long nourished idea with this unique publication. It shows the attraction and radiance which Tübingen has with a sensitive visitor from far away and it shows the liveliness of our connection with our English twin County Durham in the domains of words and music.’ Margit Aldinger
(Kulturamt Tübingen)

‘This poet is someone who in his biography and work inseparably unites wit and long gained knowledge, enthusiasm and great talent, pluck and social commitment....This is a man who conquers, with his poems and charms, pubs as well as universities. He has always been an instigator and an actor in social and literary projects, an activist without whom the exchanges between the twin towns of Durham and Tübingen would be a much quieter affair.’ Uwe Kolbe 

‘Different poets have different triggers to set off poetic imagination and a main one for him is finding himself in a city street and invoking great spirits who once lived, loved and drank there. This unique publication brings together poems written over twenty years in this 'special town'. I almost think he has earned consideration for a Keith-Armstrong-Strasse - and he is the ideal subject for a civic statue!’ Michael Standen

PRiCE £5 ISBN 1 871536 23 5

ORDERS (ADD £1.50 POSTAGE PER COPY) TO: NORTHERN VOICES COMMUNITY PROJECTS, 
93 WOODBURN SQUARE, WHITLEY LODGE, WHITLEY BAY, TYNE & WEAR NE26 3JD, ENGLAND. TEL 0191 2529531.





8.1.14

BACK IN 1977!


the jingling geordie

My photo
whitley bay, tyne and wear, United Kingdom
poet and raconteur