Sunday, 8 January 2012

The King

I am indebted to the online Writers Almanac for the following entry:
Today is the birthday of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, born in Tupelo, Mississippi (1935). His first stage performance came in 1945, when he was 10 years old. He sang "Old Shep" at a talent contest, and came in fifth, winning five dollars' worth of ride tickets for the Mississippi-Alabama fair. The following year, he wanted a bicycle, but his parents were too poor to buy one. His mother, Gladys, talked him into accepting a substitute gift: a guitar, which cost $12.95 at the Tupelo Hardware Company.
The family moved to Memphis when Presley was 13, and he grew up in public housing and listening to Memphis R&B. These, along with Tennessee country music that he heard on the radio, were his musical roots. When he was 18, working as a truck driver, he wanted to give his mom a gift, so he stopped by the Memphis Recording Service, where you could record your own songs for a small fee. He had $4, and with that money he was able to record two songs: "My Happiness" and "That's When Your Heartaches Begin." The Memphis Recording Service was also the home of Sun Records, and Elvis caught the attention of owner Sam Phillips, who called the young truck driver back in to see what other songs he knew.

I have sent in my entry for the Burns tribute - sheets of transparent paper with poems inspired by Burns, to be placed on windows at strategic locations round Dumfries. It is a poem I wrote 20 years ago, inspired by Burns' 'We twa hae paddled in the burn':

The pale moth, Autumn, flutters at my windowpane;
Time is the sea that roars between us.
All the words said, all the books read
Fluff merely in the corner of a dusty room.

Close is the conifer, the cone, the cobweb
Real the rustle of pheasant in the grass.
Quick scent of fox, lichen on grey rocks,
A hare illumined by the evening sun.

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