'Proud' poet's powerful Remembrance Day prose sparks release of poetry book
A POEM by a rigger friend of fallen soldier Matthew Telford has sparked the release of a poetry book to raise money for charities that support our troops.
Matthew McCourt, 43, of Cleethorpes, was a good friend of the late Sergeant Matthew Telford, who was killed in Afghanistan in November 2009 by a rogue Afghan policeman, as reported.
Mr McCourt pays tribute to the fallen at Grimsby Cenotaph every year and this year, the published poet was inspired to write about Remembrance Day and he sent it to the Support British Soldiers Facebook group on November 10.
Overnight, more than 2,500 people read the poem and the group decided they would compile a book of poems from other members and sell it to raise money for soldiers' charities – with McCourt's creation as the flagship verse.
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"It's just such an honour to be part of something that will raise money for such a good cause," said Mr McCourt.
The poem, 50 Shades Of A Date, reads as though the writer has a big date lined up with a woman and the twist is that the date is in fact Remembrance Day – and the poet is equally as unconventional.
Mr McCourt grew up on the Nunsthorpe, was expelled from school and has made his living for more than 20 years by working as a rigger and a doorman.
The Hooligan Poet – which was the name of his first published book – loved writing from an early age but stopped for decades until he broke his leg in 2002.
Mr McCourt added: "I was naughty at school but I would always get full marks for my creative writing and hand in essays double the length of anyone else's.
"My dad, who was a tough Glaswegian, thought there was something wrong with me when I asked for a typewriter for my birthday – it was like I was Billy Elliott.
"I stopped for years but when I had my leg in cast for six weeks after breaking it playing football, I started again – and now it is my passion.
"I'm a simple working man and I enjoy my job as a rigger so I try to write poetry that normal people in Grimsby would like.
"I don't make much money but I get much more out of knowing that people read my poetry and that's why I'm so pleased that this poem has been so popular.
"I'm a lad from the Nunsthorpe who was thrown out of school and people never expected me to do anything good and now my name is associated with this great cause – it makes me very proud."
Mr McCourt is currently writing a compilation of funny stories about his 22 years working on the doors and another book of 100 poems.
A release date for Poems For Heroes, compiled by Supporting British Troops, has not yet been announced.
50 Shades Of A Date
THE sunlight shines through my window as I awake on the morning of my date, nice golden rays of warmth dazzling through a chilly glazed window.
I roll from my bed and drop to the floor into a quick burst of press ups to keep my arms and chest looking and feeling strong for my date, it’s only right.
When I finish I stand up straight, like to attention straight, I want to look good and fit for my date, it’s only right.
I take a hot shower lathering myself in a mass of soapy shower gel, I want to smell fresh and be so clean for my date, it’s only right.
A nice close shave to remove my two-day old stubble makes my face smooth to touch for my date, it’s only right.
I open the wardrobe door in my bedroom and take the freshly-cleaned, crisply-ironed black suit from the clothes rail; I want to look smart for my date, it’s only right.
I dress in front of the mirror making sure everything is perfectly in place and pristine, my black tie in a double Wilson and not a millimetre out of line; want to be immaculate for my date, it’s only right.
I place a flower of identity in my left shoulder lapel, so my date will recognise me, it’s only right.
I leave my house with my woollen overcoat on with a flower of recognition in the lapel of my overcoat, on any other day I might feel embarrassed walking down the street with a flower in the lapel of my overcoat – not today though I got a special date, it’s only right.
I walk down the street tall and proud to meet my date, in my mind I wonder how the date will go, if I can get by without showing too much emotion, it’s only right.
Oh did I tell you my date wasn’t with a woman, my date is with my local Cenotaph on the 11th month on the 11th day on the 11th hour, where I will turn up for my date looking smart as a sign of respect to the fallen, where I will turn up wearing a poppy in my lapel out of respect to the fallen, where my emotions could get the better of me out of respect to my friends who have fallen.
It’s the least I can do to show how much I appreciate the sacrifices of our boys and girls past and present that allow us to lead the life we do… IT’S ONLY RIGHT.