Charlie Bell is a writer, poet and creative writing tutor. He has written several local history books, a distance learning course on Creative Writing for the Regent Academy, and authored or edited 25 books for Hodder & Stoughton in their Beginner’s Guide to Literature series. His poems have been widely published. He is also Chair of the Tunbridge Wells Poetry Festival (sadly now cancelled for this year due to COVID-19). Hastings Sojourn appeared in our Poetry Folio #73 in 2019.
Hastings Sojourn I went to be alone, but you were everywhere. In the very pebbles where we often walk, in the fishing boats, and net shacks, in Love Café and the Kino, in the crying gulls and the whispering wash. You were in the multi-coloured underground car park and the smugglers' caves and castle. I found you at the Jerwood and in George Street and at the crazy golf. The kids and grandkids were there too, their memories threaded with ours. Wherever I went you were imprinted there, countless years of pleasure and escape wrapped in chip paper, marked by endless cups of coffee. I walked and walked, and the more solitary I became, the more you kept me company and eased my pain.