One of the poems I submitted to the South Bank Poetry Magazine competition earlier this year was Getting Around on the Underground, a sort of reminiscence of romantic and risqué encounters around London by a female narrator.
Somewhere amid the rambling it contains the following:
[…]the time we sneaked into St James’s Park
and lay at 2 a.m. in August dark, spaced out on meteor scatter,
cool grass at our backs, the universe heavy above us.[…]
Of course that scene was inspired by the memory I mentioned yesterday of watching the Perseids in Battersea Park back in the early Eighties.
But, as I’ve said before I think life is a stepping off point for poetry, and I believe facts can – and should – be sacrificed if they get in the way.
Which is why the scene was moved to St James’s Park – which scanned a lot better – and romanticised.
The reality was a fairly prosaic experience of listening to my long-term partner and the landlord’s son discuss radio signal propagation and their latest attempts to talk to Estonia.
I suspect that my narrators tend to live rather more extreme versions of life than I do.