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Beyond the Greyscale

by Terry Sorby

Terry Sorby - mugshot


Review by Kay Green

Ever since I turned 40, it’s been dawning on me just how easily youth disregards age.  I can remember being 15, and being really patronising about ‘old’ people who eccentrically managed to be interesting, and…almost as clever as us youngsters!!!  Now I keep wanting to grab teenagers by the throat and yell; “Look, granny’s got a name, you know.  She’s got feelings – she’s a real person!”
Well obviously, they wouldn’t listen to me, because I’m almost old.  But they may well read this book!  With its cover illustration of a gnarly old tree, Beyond the Greyscale is the perfect antidote to ageism... because those who take the trouble to look closely, to turn the picture this way and that, will find a cheeky young face hidden in the bark.


Here is an 83-year-old wistfully wondering if she could handle line-dancing lessons:

With all my gear I’d get on the bus,
I don’t care what they think,
I’d flash ‘em a bit of cellulite thigh,
And give ‘em a knowing wink.
I really like to strut my stuff,
And even whoop and shout,
I’ll kick my heels and flick my hair,
And let my corsets out.

(-  from Young at Heart)

It’s not all sweetness and light though.  A person can only take so much, and certain things have to be endured every year….

Christmas is not the same anymore,
It resembles a living hell,
You can stick your crackers and tinsel,
Toll the last of the old jingle bell.
No, Christmas is not the same anymore,
Seasonal spirit dying or dead,
So sod the bloody lot of you,
I’m off back to my beloved bed.

(- from Not so Merry Christmas)

Ah!  Fellow feeling…It’s official, I’ve got old! - But that's not all you'll find out about in this highly varied collection. There is comedy, tragedy and social comment from the poet who says...


I’ve bungee jumped from half a mile up,

walked on the wing of a plane,

been shot out of a cannon,

and run over by a train.

I can do anything you ask of me,

be it hot, dangerous, dry or wet...

( - from Been There, Done It)

... there is even a poem written from the point of view of a carrier bag. But when Terry Sorby looks back over his full and varied life, I think it is the heartfelt, human stories that will stick in the reader's mind - Tumbledown, for example... 

Shell flashes light the sky

the crump of mortar

dulls the brain

stench of cordite

burnt flesh

mates screaming

crying, anguish, pain

parts of them shredded

or missing

the bitter cold bites


crisp military order

rings out:

“Fix bayonets.”

British steel bared

close quarter contact

no more the anonymous bullet;

man, metal, man


in writhing unison.



Beyond the Greyscale

Published by Earlyworks Press ISBN 978 1 9064451 028

  £6.50 + £1.50 towards p&p to UK addresses



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Or you can pay by cheque or PO: Please post cheques payable to Kay Green to:  Earlyworks Press, Creative Media Centre, 45 Robertson St, Hastings, Sussex, TN34 1HL

Terry's Books:

Beyond the Grayscale

Roadie & Co