Haiku: ‘The Colours of Our Soul’

Copyright Francis Barker 2020

Poem: ‘England’s Glory’

man person men old
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

He taps the roll up on his weathered
seat, strikes the match
towards him as an old man should, a box
of ‘England’s Glory’ and tobacco bag
thrown at me, as if they weren’t
all his worldly goods.

“No thanks, I don’t.”

He shrugs as if it’s my loss,
cups the yellow light with
the nonchalance of a friend, his hands
raw and dirty. He draws, a near
toothless mouth collapsing
like worn bellows;
he exhales, deftly aiming a spit
of spare flake to his right, while knotty
fingers wipe wet lips— the sound
of sandpaper on wood. And so
the coughing starts. There’s little else
to fill the new day.

* ‘England’s Glory’ is a brand of match

copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019

 

Keeping My Faith

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My Faith Mercury – in all its parlour beauty. Note the lovely rosewood binding.

I’ve had my Faith Mercury parlour guitar for nearly four years now. I remember that it wasn’t a very easy purchase.

So OK, let me explain. I love electric guitars too; I’d had my American Stratocaster for number of years but it simply wasn’t getting played. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it, far from it. I don’t gig so it’s far easier sitting around with an acoustic. I just wanted something smaller, lighter, easier in my lap – a ‘sofa guitar’ you might say.

Look, I’d got other acoustics (I’ll come back to them another time) but not a genuine 12 fret join-at-the-neck acoustic. They are usually called parlour guitars due to the fact that they were originally made in more genteel times for ladies to strum in their parlours. How quaint, I thought. I’ve seen plenty of women who can handle much bigger guitars than this, but again that’s another story.

You actually traded in the Strat?

So, once I’d come to terms with the knowledge that parlour guitars weren’t necessarily the exclusive property of women, I had to make a decision. Yes, I was going to trade in the Strat! What? It was hard to let it go: Heck, even the smell of it was great.

Yet, when I first took hold of that light Faith Mercury parlour it was the perfect fit for noodling, fingerstyle playing which is basically where I’m at these days. You might call it the quintessential songwriters’ guitar and I’ve been known to write a few.

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Nice touch.

The Faith Mercury is a perfect wee beastie: The simple Faith logo on the headstock, solid woods all round with a spruce top, trembesi back and sides and some beautiful rosewood binding to boot, which I really love. Mine has the glossy top, with matt finish back and sides. The solid trembesi, I am told, sits tonally somewhere between rosewood and mahogany. Sounds great.

Not boxy out of the box

However, perhaps the most surprising thing, considering it’s a parlour guitar, is that it’s not that boxy sounding; in fact there’s a fair amount of bass and thus a fuller, richer sound than I was expecting. It was in tune ‘right out of the box’ as the saying goes, and it’s so easy to play, the action just right for me. And by the way, it wasn’t actually a box but rather a very nice case emblazoned with the Faith logo.

My only ‘quibble’ is the fact that it doesn’t smell like a Martin (Martin owners will know what I mean) – but you can’t have everything, I suppose. Faith make some fantastic, great value guitars and I wouldn’t hesitate buying another. The only problem is making a choice. I’ve always fancied another Faith Mercury with the scoop and pick up. Equally I’d like a Venus, but which one?

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The grain of the solid trembesi wood is particularly impressive.

Bog oak – is that a thing?

Then there’s the one made with that ancient bog oak, was it? Actually I think they’ve made several by now. One day I will make my mind up. I just hope I don’t have to trade in another to get one.

But get this. About a month ago my wife said, “can you teach me to play guitar?” After getting up off the floor and saying “yes, of course, Darling,” I wondered which of my several acoustics she would prefer to learn on. Absolute no brainer, the Faith Mercury won hands down. “It’s just the right shape for me,” she said, having struggled just a little with the others. Now she’s already trying to pick out the ‘Game of Thrones’ theme tune and I can’t get a look in!

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Oh, did I say Grovers too?

It looks like parlour guitars are indeed very suitable for women and most especially the Faith Mercury. I’ll just have to remind her that it’s actually my guitar!

Leo Tanner 2019

http://www.faithguitars.com

Poem ‘Molehill’

Molehill

Scafell Pike was a few miles distant.
Not visible.
But this was England’s highest point.
“A molehill!” he said, while we sat
laughing at each other from our tatty
old sleeping bags.

You should have met my Swedish
friend, a cabinet maker
resident somewhere in Switzerland,
accustomed to real
mountains and the exuberant air.
We got on like the proverbial house,
cooling it down with his wit, my
natural reserve, but we had
Abba and Borg and now the Buddha
in common – what was there not to like?

“But who is this Borg?” he said.
“Didn’t you know? Back home we say ‘Bory’.”
Really? Well I thought that wouldn’t do, shocked
out of my anglo-centric world.
But I trusted my sudden blond friend,
this infectious alpine Swede.

“And watch out for the snails!” he said, leading
us to the huge white tent.
Yes, weren’t they lives, too? just
not with our potential
to love and to care – though how often do we choose?

“Maybe on a clear day?” I said, pausing
by the entrance, pointing towards
where Scafell Pike might be.
He laughed. “Not in a billion years!” he said,
with his arresting smile

© copyright David F. Barker 2012