Raine Geoghegan – Chaplin Talks

Raine Geoghegan LEP&W V3 Dec 2022

Download PDF Here 13th Anniversary
Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Three December 2022.

Chaplin Talks, poems by Raine Geoghegan.

Chaplin Tells All to a Journalist.

I had a troubled childhood, nobody knows what I went through. My dear mother went mad you know. I was just a boy, a skinny little urchin. I came home one afternoon and there was my mother sitting on the doorstep with a neighbour, her eyes rolling around, spit on her lips. The neighbour told me straight.

‘Oh my dear Charlie, yer mother’s not well. She’s been going from door to door in the neighbourhood giving away little clumps of coal, saying that they’re gifts for the children. She needs ‘elp.’

So I grabbed her hand and lead her through the streets in the fog and the cold until we got to the infirmary. A kind looking nurse took her in but I never felt so alone. I walked home and waited for my brother Syd to return. When he did, he cooked me boiled beef and carrots, He was good like that, our Syd. After we’d eaten, we snuggled up together, wrapping blankets around us to keep us warm.

The next day the neighbour called, asking about mother. She gave me some heather and said it was from the Gypsies and it will bring us all good luck. I put that heather in my pocket and my luck did change, but as for my mother, well she never did get back to her old self. God bless her soul.

Charlie Chaplin Talks to a Journalist

You want to know where I found my unique walk, well, let’s go back to
England, the Queens Head to be precise. My brother and I used to hang around outside the pub, sometimes I’d sing a little tune, dance a bit, if I
was lucky, I’d get a few coins. Some nights I’d talk to Rummy. He had
rheumatics which made his feet swell up and used an old walking stick
which he tapped on the ground when he spoke. He wore large patterned trousers, way too big for him. He was a short man and he shuffled around humming the old tunes. I was quite taken with him. He used to make me laugh when he pulled faces and waddled around, like a penguin then he’d
say, ‘Gotcha.’ Well his walk and his trousers sort of fixed in my mind and when it came to me going on the stage, I thought of Rummy. I copied his
walk, I’ll call it a waddle, practising for days. I got a stick and I wore the
big trousers, adding the head movements. You got to start somewhere,
with me it was the walk. With Dan Leno it was his eyes.

© Raine Geoghegan

Raine Geoghegan, M.A. is a Welsh born poet, prose writer and playwright of Romany descent. She is a Forward Prize, twice Pushcart Prize, and Best of the Net nominee. Her work has been published online and in print with Poetry Ireland Review; Travellers’ Times; Ofi Press; Under the Radar;  The Clearing; SkyLight47; Fly on the Wall and many more.

Her essay, ‘It’s Hopping Time’ was featured in Gifts of Gravity and Light (Hodder & Stoughton, 2021). She has a Highly Commended Award for poetry from Winchester University’s Reaching Out competition and was long listed for the NHS Poetry competition in 2019. Two pamphlets, ‘Apple Water: Povel Panni’ and ‘they lit fires: lenti hatch o yog’ are by Hedgehog Poetry Press.  Apple Water was listed in the Poetry Book Society Spring 2019 Selection.  Her play ‘The Tree Woman’ was featured in the online festival with the Same Boat Theatre Collective based in San Francisco. She is the Romani Script Consultant for the musical ‘For Tonight’ which will be performed in the UK later this year. Her third pamphlet ‘The Stone Sleep’ was published in January 2022 with Hedgehog Poetry Press. ‘The Talking Stick: O Pookering Kosh’ was published in June 2022 by Salmon Poetry Press. https://www.rainegeoghegan.co.uk/

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