Reflections on the quiet side of the lockdowns

By Mike Wade   |   Entertainment reporter   |
Wednesday 25th May 2022 4:00 pm
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(Isle of Man Newspapers )

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It is often said that the 2020 lockdowns offered us a rare chance to press the pause button on our busy lives and take the time to relax and reflect on the immediate world around us.

That was certainly true for writer and poet Paul Quayle, who is to release his latest collection of haiku poetry, at Quayles Hall, in Ramsey, this weekend.

‘2020 Haiku’ is a small but lovingly-crafted collection of Paul’s latest haiku poems.

Traditionally featuring only three lines containing 13 syllables, haiku poetry is a description of a momentary snapshot of time or a sense of the emotion offered by a glimpse and, although outwardly short and fleeting, can convey much deeper levels of meaning.

Paul wrote his latest collection during the lockdown periods and in the immediate aftermath, and said that he noticed that the work he produced differed from his previous work.

‘When I was looking back over my poems that I wrote over the 2020 lockdown, I realised that there were quite a few things that were different, and that I’d written some quite interesting stuff that was not like the other things I’d come up with before,’ said Paul.

‘I guess it was all down to the fact that we had all this time on our hands, and I spent a long time at home, and not going anywhere.

‘It gave me that bit of time out that allowed me to write my poetry in a much quieter way, I guess.

Paul’s last book was entitled ‘Rocky Road to the Deep South’, and featured poems inspired by places and sensations when walking from his home in Sulby to the south, along the middle of the island.

‘My last book was a more focused book with a definite idea behind it,’ he said.

‘I did a lot of walking and went on site visits, and I knew where I was going with it.

‘This new book is largely made from random thoughts and observations, all written from around where I live. Some were written during the actual lockdown time and some came from later in the year, when things started to open up and we were able to move about a bit.

‘The difference from one being a journey and one being very much not a journey. Just being in the one place and living a very quieter life gave writing these poems a very different experience.

‘Many people observed things, such as how quiet the island became, and how much more noticeable things like birdsong was.

‘The night sky was a particular inspiration.

‘The front cover of the book shows ‘noctilucent’ clouds, which can only be seen around mid-summer.

‘These are the highest clouds in the earth’s atmosphere, which at mid-summer are still being lit up by the sun in the far north. It’s like looking over the horizon, essentially.

‘Seeing them was a big highlight of the year, but there’s other nice moments about stars, planets, moths, bats and a big thunderstorm, and also what I consider to be a UFO sighting! I don’t know what else this could have been, to be honest.

‘It is amazing what you see when you stop to look and listen.’

The book launch will take place from 1pm until 4pm on Saturday, May 21, with copies available for £2.50.

Paul thanked Michael Starkey for the use of the hall.

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