Love Languages – Winning Entry

Throughout February we asked you to send in flash submissions on the topic of “Love Languages”. We’re delighted to share the winning entry of David Thompson, Frome in Somerset, with you. It’s also his 89th birthday today so happy birthday David! He also published a poetry collection recently – Days of Dark and Light – with Hobnob Press.

Language Love

My row of grammars and fat dictionaries
doesn’t help me much to understand
why I love so many languages – it’s more
the places and people, what we ate and drank,
the sights and sounds, the smells, the land.

I love Welsh for the mountains, the choirs,
Moel Hebog and Beddgelert, slate hillsides, Anglesey’s
beaches; Breton for pancakes and Quimper bagpipes;
Norwegian for trolls, Hardanger fiddles in wooden churches,
the port in Bergen, breakfast goat cheese.

Italian, of course: vaporetti in Venice,
northern lakes, ice cream and Verdi in Rome,
Etruscan tombs, the stifled south;
and French for the Gascon wines and sunflowers
of the Gers, the quays of Paris, once my home.

And Spanish – Ibiza’s old town, the Prado,
a cueca in Santiago, a pasodoble in Mexico.
Then German – the Bernese Oberland, Vienna Woods,
fruit tart with whipped cream in the Zillertal,
Heidelberg’s castle, Neuschwanstein under snow.

But what of Russian, anchored deep in roughshod dreams?
Brutal, tearful, the key to Slavic mystery –
steppe, sleigh bells, Stenka Razin, vodka, Moscow nights.
Should I still love it? Maybe, if Turgenev and Tchaikovsky
can outweigh the Kremlin’s shameful history.

Our monthly flash theme for March was d/Deafness

Are you d/Deaf? Do you live with hearing loss, tinnitus or disorders of the ear? This March, we’re honouring Hearing Loss Awareness Month with content which signposts to important organisations and sources of support. Hearing conditions, d/Deafness and tinnitus have numerous causes and can happen at any stage of life. They are, however, more common in later life, and can have a significant impact on mental health and quality of life without proper support, inclusion or understanding. We’re especially aware of how creativity can enhance quality of life, so we’d love you to get in touch and tell us about how you manage tinnitus, hearing loss or d/Deafness through creativity. You can do this through a short poem, story or memoir, and we have book prizes for the best one!

Send us your entries by midnight on March 31st, and the winning entry, chosen by Autumn Voices, will receive Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky, published by Faber and Faber and Deaf Sentence by David Lodge, published by Penguin (Harvill Secker).

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