Writing a carefully crafted poem would be a challenge for anyone – but a member of staff at Ripon Tourist Information Centre (TIC) pens poems in just 140 characters or less.
Paul Darbyshire, 55, who has worked at the TIC in Ripon for six years, found an innovative way of celebrating the city – by writing Twitter poems about Ripon on the TIC’s account.
“I like writing little ditties and I had never seen any poems on Twitter before. I thought it was a unique way of linking in all the city’s attractions with a hint of humour,” he told the Gazette.
“It’s something different,” he said.
Paul launched a new Twitter account, @ripontourism, especially for the city following the huge success of his poems on the main Harrogate account.
“I think I have probably written about 200 Twitter poems now,” said Paul, who lives in Ripon with his wife, Cel.
“I am trying to include everybody in my poems, so if someone follows me, I’ll write them a little poem, whether that be the spa baths, a bicycle shop in the Dales, or a café in Ripon.
“It’s a way of drawing people in and it’s all about promoting Ripon and its surrounding areas.”
Paul, who worked at RAF Menwith Hill for 26 years, said even his four granddaughters enjoy his poems – and they have taught him a thing or two about being tech-savvy.
“They are really into their i-Pads,” he chuckled.
And it was at Menwith Hill Paul became inspired to write poetry.
“I used to write a poem for anybody that was leaving at their leaving party and I have written poems for funerals too. But they are not humorous like the others. It’s about the balance of sensitivity. It’s all about drawing lots of people in.”
An example of Paul’s Twitter poetry:
At 9pm in Ripon
Each and every night
George the @RiponHornblower
Always gets it right