Interview

Hello Poetry Lovers

Welcome back to our studio where today our esteemed guest is the wonderful poet Alan Gregory (Rapturous Applause)

Thank you so much for coming on the show, Alan. I have to say, I adore your white suit. I expect you’re going up the disco with John Travolta later

I certainly am, Heather. So I can’t be too long. Thank you for having me on the show

Pleasure. I’d really watch out for those high stacked shoes though. Funny, I was watching Saturday Night Fever recently, how come he doesn’t get a single mark on that white suit?!

Anyway, Alan, why don’t you tell us about yourself?

I have Aspergers. Nowadays persons are spotted in junior school or early teens. I went through my whole life suffering the effects in ignorance until six years ago when my eldest daughter said, ‘You are classic Aspergers’ Eventually I was confirmed to be neurologically diverse as it is now called and I have come to view it as a strength rather than a disability. The understanding was timely as in later life, the effects become more pronounced.

Well, Alan, I would agree with you. It really is a strength. I’m so glad we are more aware of Asperger’s now.

When did poetry become part of your life?

Aged 14 there was a class assignment to write a poem. I did mine then wrote three more for others. Got in trouble for that.

I wrote loads of rhymes which I didn’t keep but when I was 22, I penned ‘Sleep, Sweet Sleep’ which is on my Instagram page now. Although you would have to go back a bit to see it. (@truculentbutamiable)

Love it, Alan. I remember doing an essay for someone in my class once and got in hot water! Not worth it, is it. So you’ve been writing quite a while.

Who are your biggest influences?

At school we studied the Victorian era poets but I focused on S. T. Coleridge. I bought a book of his work and spent many lunch breaks reading poems. After school, over the years I read all sorts including T. E. Brown, a Manx poet who wrote wonderful narrative poems about real people.

Marriage ended the research but not the writing. There were no more influencing poets but I read all Douglas Adams’ books and Terry Pratchett who motivated me to get back to writing.

Terrific writers and influences, Alan. Our creativity does always return to us, doesn’t it. Are you working on anything at the moment ?

Yes, a new Spike and Ribbit story. I also have three unfinished stories waiting to get done one of these days.

Excellent, I’m so glad we’ve come to this unique pair. For the uninitiated, Alan writes marvellous and unique pieces on the deep friendship between a hedgehog and a toad. Spike and Ribbit. A likeable pair who share life experiences such as droughts, and going on holiday. Hazards and simple pleasures. They are absolutely wonderful.

I have the absolute honour of putting their moon adventure on here.

 What do you think is your best reading?

I don’t read my own work because my glitchy brain tends to remember earlier versions and it makes me lose fluency or even as I read, I’m thinking of better ways to say things or perhaps a better word. I prefer to write and make changes until I am satisfied with it and then let others read it.

Wonderful, Alan. It’s been fantastic chatting to you and gaining such insight.

Please forgive my amateur toad and hedgehog but I’ve illustrated your very clever piece here.

Please read the following poem, Poetry Lovers, it’s excellent.

Alan Gregory is on Instagram under @truculentbutamiable. Really worth a look.

Thank you so much for coming on the show, Alan. Now, don’t keep John Travolta waiting….(audience applaud ecstatically – standing ovation)

Spike and Ribbit go to the Moon

THE MOON WAS FULL AND THE SKY WAS CLEAR

THE MOON LOOKED DOWN AND HIS FACE LOOKED BACK.

HE WANTED TO SMILE BUT OF COURSE HE CAN’T

SO HE TOOK A SELFIE, FOR HE HAD THE KNACK.

SPIKE AND RIBBIT WERE LOOKING AT THE MOON

THEY WANTED TO GIVE EXPLORATION A TRY

BUT SPIKE FELT THAT HE WAS UNABLE TO GO

‘I’M SORRY TO TELL YOU BUT HEDGEHOGS CAN’T FLY.’

‘BUT YOU DON’T NEED TO FLY’ SAID RIBBIT

THERE ARE TWO MOONS, IT’S NOT A MISTAKE.

THERE IS ONE IN THE SKY THAT YOU FLY TO

AND ONE OVER THERE IN THE LAKE’

‘WE JUST GET THE BOAT AND WE ROW THERE,

WE WILL BE THE FIRST TO EXPLORE.

THEN WE’LL CELEBRATE THERE WITH A PICNIC

BECAUSE NO-BODY DID THAT BEFORE.’

SO THEY SET OFF UPON THEIR ADVENTURE,

SPIKE ROWING, WHILE IN RIBBIT’S GRIP

HE FIRMLY HELD THE LONG BOW ROPE

TO LAND AND THEN TIE UP THE SHIP.

THEY ARRIVED AT THE MOON WITHOUT TROUBLE

RIBBIT DREW IN HIS BREATH FOR THE DASH.

SPIKE SHUT HIS EYES, BEING FEARFUL,

SO ALL THAT HE HEARD WAS A SPLASH.

WHEN HE LOOKED THE MOON WAS ALL BROKEN

AND THERE WAS NO SIGN OF RIBBIT AROUND.

THEIR TRIP HAD BECOME A DISASTER

AND POSSIBLY RIBBIT HAD DROWNED.

THEN RIBBIT CLIMBED BACK UP THE BOW ROPE

AND STOOD, CLEARLY SHOOK TO THE CORE.

‘ I THINK WE’D BETTER LEAVE QUICKLY,’ HE SAID

‘AND GET OURSELVES BACK TO THE SHORE.’

BUT REALLY THEY NEEDN’T HAVE WORRIED,

BY THE TIME THAT THEY ROWED TO THE BEACH

THE MOON HAD MENDED ITSELF ONCE AGAIN

AND IN FUTURE WOULD STAY OUT OF REACH.

SPIKE AND RIBBIT LAY ON THE GRASS

WITH THE PICNIC THEY FORTUITOUSLY BROUGHT

RIBBIT SAID, ‘THE REASON THE MOON BROKE,

IT’S MUCH THINNER THAN ANYONE THOUGHT.

THERE’S NO WAY A MAN CAN GO TO THE MOON,

THEY WILL HAVE TO ABANDON THAT PLAN.

IF THE MOON CAN’T STAND THE WEIGHT OF A TOAD,

WHAT CHANCE COULD THERE BE FOR A MAN?’

Written by A.Gregory 09/08/2018.

Thanks for tuning in, PL’s. Wasn’t Alan a wonderful guest?! We’ll be back with more poetry adventures real soon……

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