A POET from Mauchline is launching his first book, aged 67.

Jim Beck has been writing poems since he was 19 and has now decided to share some of his best with the world.

There were a lot of hurdles for self-publisher Jim, but he now has the finished product – entitled Salar – ready for the launch on February 28 at Many Thanks in Mauchline.

He said: “I wrote my first poem when I was 19 and I’ve now retired. I had joined the Opportunities in Retirement group (OIR) in Ayr, they are a bunch of writers and that gave me the push.

“I had all these poems and it’s been like a lifetime

ambition to actually publish a book of them but I hadn’t a clue what you do. The woman that runs OIR was almost like a mentor, she helped and enabled me to do it.”

Salar contains a collection of 16 of Jim’s poems including a haiku, some serious and humorous and even Burns-style poetry.

The name comes from the Latin for the Atlantic Salmon – Salmo Salar – which was inspiration to Jim’s first poem.

He added: “Salar is about a salmon in the sea that comes by the river it was born in.

“It goes up the river to the spawning grounds where it spawns and then dies, just two miles from the sea and it’s body is washed away.

“In the introduction I explain that, before I was 19, I didn’t read poems apart from at school. I never read them and I certainly didn’t write them.

“I served my time as a marine engineer and when I had done that, I was in the research department. I think my brain just rebelled because I was listening to The Who and Led Zeppelin.

“I was just sitting there one day and the first two or three verses of Salar popped into my head and I thought: ‘where did that come from’?

“I decided to write it down before I forgot it. Once I started it just kept flowing and I’ve been writing poems ever since.”

The launch of Salar takes place in Many Thanks, 3 The Cross, Mauchline at 6.30pm on February 28.

Copies of the book – which cost £5 – will be available on the night or on Amazon Kindle for £2.99.