running late

high cloud; blue sky

It’s been a beautiful day and, for once, I’ve spent very little time at my computer.

It’s the local folk festival this weekend and there has been music and a general festive air throughout the town. At the end of the road, groups played Led Zeppelin and David Bowie covers, neither of which count as folk to me, though I admit I enjoyed them rather more than I did the Morris dancing.

Given the county emblem, I am slightly surprised not to have heard a rendition of Simon Smith and his Amazing Dancing Bear.

Warwick bear marble relief

Now, though, it’s late, and if I don’t get a post written in the next hour, it’ll be tomorrow already.


I haven’t had enough time to process – nor to recollect in tranquillity – my observations of the local festivities, so will fall back on an old poem from the Spanish fiestas de la virgen de la paloma:

La Paloma, 2003

The street thermometer reads forty-six.
I multiply by nine, divide by five
add thirty-two and know
it’s hot.

I glow genteelly, feel the dye leach
from my espadrilles. The market
is a concrete cave that smells
of yeast and mint.

Cheese sweats under fluorescent glare, and hams
drip fat. The grocer pours spiked ‘lemonade’
at ten a.m. in honour
of the Virgin.

Yesterday we bought the corner shop’s
last bag of ice. Milk sours unopened
in the fridge; this morning’s loaf
crumbles to dust.

The cat spread-eagles on the marble floor.
I can’t face food, but coffee mugs
and glasses line up in a triple row
beside the sink.

Women in kerchiefs and carnations,
sleeves puffed and laced, skirts hobbled
at the knee, unfurl and ripple
plastic fans.

Dandies strut in caps and dogtooth waistcoats
or turn on patent leather, mechanical,
expressionless as figures
on a music box.

The full moon shines, sunlike, through
my bedroom window as I pray
tomorrow’s fireworks
may bring rain.


Author: don't confuse the narrator

Exploring the boundary between writer and narrator through first person poetry, prose and opinion

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