Been Away … Been Around: the Second Chapter.

Some friends are visiting the area. All the way from Sicily. All the way from Turkey. All the way from Cyprus. Staying at a hotel in Walsall. Close friends. Part of an international project with some work to do …

But we set out on a mission: to find the churchyard where former Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham is buried. Led Zeppelin – never my favourite band from a time where loyalties were tribal: so the Beatles or the Rolling Stones? Deep Purple or Led Zeppelin? Mod or rocker? And me? Loved the strutting arrogance of the Stones and I’d heard Made in Japan at a biker’s party – my loyalties were forged.

But Led Zeppelin were legendary*, among other things, for being loud. And especially Bonham: no nonsense, intimidating, aggressive, big and demanding. Born and raised in the West Midlands. Eventually we find the church (St Michael and All Angels at Rushock ); surrounded by sweeping agricultural farmland: barley, pastures … and quiet. A few martins slipping through the blue skies. Otherwise, if you stop talking the only sound you can hear is your own breathing. This provokes some interesting thoughts about life, death he nature of eternity and – once photos have been taken and tokens left … where to go next.

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September Evening Coming Down.


The wind, middle September evening,

Middle strength,

Keeps switching around.

But it’s not so bad;

Kindling smoke is gone,

There’s orange white heat

In the heart of the fire.

The fuel on it now is blaze-dry.

But these flames,


What ?


What are they doing?

Leaning this way on the wind,

Then that,

Looking something like fingers,

Groping into the shadows.

Are they ecstatic?

Swaying in some semi-religious fervour,

A trance dance,

Worshipping their creator –

That’ll be me then.


The sudden warmth is on me, over me in

Waves, up my lower legs, wrapping the fronts of my knees,

Feinting left to bubble my hand in heat,

Then Smack!

Full blow to the face.

I lean back in my chair,

Hearing a thousand teachers

(“Would you sit on your own chair like that?”)

In a thousand schoolrooms:

Me, smiling happily at the echoes.

Whoa! That is some kind of heat on a

Cooling night!


Or are the flames fingers of blame?

I’m guilty of something

But don’t know what:

I’m used to that notion by now,

I smile to myself.

They are accusing me?

(Join the queue!)

Judging me?

The sentence will be …


All too soon there will be

Only embers …

Septembers …

and grey morning hangover.




17th September, 2012.