A few days ago I heard from a gentleman in England who wrote, “On 7th February, I am reading poetry at Basingstoke Discovery Centre ‘to celebrate the joy of words and language’ as part of an event to mark National Libraries Day and would like to include your poem ‘My Book.’ May I please have your permission to do so? I live in Basingstoke and write and perform poetry although, on this occasion, I shall mainly be reading other people’s.”
With best wishes
I immediately looked for Bryn on Google and was delighted to agree to his request. Here are links if you’d like more information about Bryn. https://www.facebook.com/search/more/?q=Bryn+Strudwick&init=public and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-qNOxwAX1w .
Bryn was kind enough to send me one of his poems and so, with his permission, here it is.
Dearly beloved, I stand here today,
A weight on my heart and a tear in my eye.
Everything’s mortal and passes away.
A time when friends gather to say goodbye
Books have been with us since something B.C.,
On velum, papyrus, parchment and bond.
But now you download them from any P.C..
The books that we love have been “Amazoned”
Shakespeare’s complete works, the Bible, Koran,
Austen and Dickens, every author you know,
All on a screen you can hold in one hand
Carry your library wherever you go.
But remember one thing as book sales dwindle.
You can’t press a rose twixt the leaves of a Kindle
© Bryn Strudwick
I enjoyed the poem very much and asked for more information. Bryn obligingly sent this brief bio. I thought you might like to meet this English actor and poet too.
“You invited me to talk about my favourite subject – me! So here’s a potted history. I’ve tried to make it brief but quite a lot has happened in 77 years.
I was born in 1938 in Enfield, Middlesex and moved to Hampshire in 1966, first to Alton, now in Basingstoke. Widowed with three sons, a step-son and step-daughter.
All my working life was spent in local government housing until having the luxury of retiring at 54. For the next six years I ran a large charity shop with my wife.
I have been writing poetry since my teens and, more recently have extended my writing to short plays and stories, winning several awards in creative writing competitions. My poems have appeared in about twenty anthologies although, to date I have managed to retain my ‘amateur status’, having never been paid for anything I’ve written.
My other main interest is the theatre. I started acting in am-dram at fifteen and continued, on and off, over the years. For the last fifteen years I have been with the Proteus Theatre Company in Basingstoke. This is a professional touring company, going as far afield as Edinburgh and even Broadway but I belong to its amateur ‘wing’, the Proteans. We have the benefit, not only of using the company’s facilities but also having productions directed by the Artistic Director.
Since 2013, I have turned more and more to performance poetry, having had two full-length shows of my own work and taking a shortened version to various social clubs. This has the advantage that I can read the poems and don’t have to learn everything!
Over the years, I have also played a lot of sport, mainly cricket.
Sorry, that was a bit longer than intended. I think the term “Jack of all trades, master of none” might well have been written for me.
Very best wishes,
Bryn, thank you for the delightful bio. I am confident that you’re about to make new friends in America. Rather than “Jack of all trades, master of none,” I’d describe yours as a life well spent.
P.S. “My Book” originally appeared in SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK, Boyds Mills Press, 1993. It has been sandblasted into the Children’s Garden sidewalk at the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix and painted onto a bookmobile in Pueblo, Colorado. I’m happy to see it jump continents to seek other readers. Thanks, Bryn!