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There Are No Such Things As Seagulls by David Agnew
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Click cover to enlarge.  Cover illustration by Jan Richardson.
'I watched the seagull
strut across the beach,
gunslinger walk...'
B U Y   T H E   B O O K

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VP0034  //  Published: 5th July 2012

The new collection of poetry by Leeds-based, Belfast-raised writer David Agnew is focused on neither of those cities - instead, it is an offering of sixty poems inspired by, about, or written in the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitby.  The poet's regular visits to the town, escaping the day-to-day pressures of life, have created the perfect mindset for contentment and creativity, and There Are No Such Things As Seagulls collects this Whitby-based work for the first time.

Reading this book is probably the closest you can get to the experience of visiting Whitby without actually going; David uses his poems to document the minutiae of moments in a day, reflecting the leisurely pace of life which can be achieved in a seaside town.  Readers will find David sitting on the pier, walking on the cliffs, enjoying numerous cups of tea (and the occasional cigarette), people-watching with an excellent line in non-judgmental observation, and seagull-watching with sympathy for their cause (along with a healthy awareness of their complete non-existence, as explained in the closing poem.)

This unhurried, uncontrived approach leads David's writing to occupy the unlikely middle ground between Wallace Stevens and Paul Durcan (who gets a mention), with a certain laconic, undemonstrative style immortalised by John Hegley and occasionally practiced by our own Helen Burke.  In the summer months, this book will be a perfect accompaniment to any seaside-relaxing you might do - and in the winter months, a helpful reminder that it won't be long before it comes round again.

Paperback page count: 80   /   ISBN: 9781908853158

David Agnew was born in Northern Ireland, 1944, and currently lives in Leeds.  He has been
writing poetry for the past decade, and his poems have appeared in...  (read more)
David Agnew
There Are No Such Things As Seagulls

Don’t you just hate it when

the ice cream is finished
before you reach
the bottom of the cone,

the phone rings just after
you have poured milk
onto your Weetabix,

you catch a glimpse
of yourself naked, in profile,
in a full-length mirror,

the person you were going
to ride off into the sunset with
rides off with somebody else,

you turn over in bed for a hug
and only then remember
you are sleeping on your own.


I discovered two seagulls
staring in the window
as I stood naked
drying off after a shower.

I did not think
they were impressed,

they turned up
the next day
for another look.

Just Another Day

Being flirted with
by an attractive young lady
in a fish and chip shop,

Watching knickers go round
in a washing machine
in a nearby launderette,

Struggling single-handedly
to put a king size duvet
back in its king size cover,

Pondering a vacuum cleaner
which generates great noise
but apparently does not suck,

Rescuing poems
from a computer
which died,

Drinking numerous cups of tea
and smoking, perhaps,
the occasional cigarette.

“So what!” you may say.

But it all helps
oil the wheels
which spin the world.
Kindle Edition