Mayfield Fringe Festival – Poetry Reading


Several years ago I read at the Mayfield Festival alongside Gill McEvoy and Sue Roe. Jill Munro tells me about this year’s event (her first full reading!) on Sunday May 3rd at the Middle House, 7-8 pm.  Doors open 6.30 pm.

‘The sweetest village in England’ so wrote the poet, Coventry Patmore, of Mayfield in East Sussex. The Medieval Village is currently hosting its 3rd Fringe Festival (25th April – 3rd May) celebrating visual arts, story telling, music, performance and poetry – and I’m one of three poets taking part in a reading on the last day of the festival at Middle House, the lovely pub/restaurant, aptly, in the middle of the village. It is a wonderful Elizabethan building, dating back to 1575 which has a cosy atmosphere and a heavily oak panelled restaurant.


The other poets – Patricia McCarthy and Robin Houghton – are experienced readers on the ‘circuit’ but this will be my first public reading of several of my poems in one session – I’ve only ever previously read an individual poem in public. So this will mean thinking about timing, length of poems and selecting the poems to be read from my forthcoming collection ‘Man from La Paz’ (Green Bottle Press, London). I had hoped the book would be out there by now but, as is often the case in publishing, it’s been delayed until next month. I’m looking forward to what I hope will be a convivial atmosphere and enjoying Robin’s and Patricia’s readings – at least the pub-goers can have a drink or supper to supplement the poetry! Well, I’ll be doing that anyway … seems a shame not to in such a lovely setting and I’ve heard from reliable sources the food is yummy.’



Allotment Man

Last night I dreamt you sprouted from the land,
naked, with a large onion in each hand.
Your head glowed pumpkin orange, not carved
or chiselled, but handsome just the same,
your nose lengthened to a parsnip. Your eyes?
Ripening, rolling black-eyed peas and, quite clearly,
your ears were cauliflowered, so prettily floretted.

Your onion-hand flicked casually, as it often does,
not at strands of hair, but plaited garden twine.
Your bulging forearms curved courgettely,
as both calves deepened to dark marrow green
below your mud-clung, spuddy knees. Giant
mushroom buttocks bloomed (possibly Portobello)
as your round belly switched from pink to gourdy yellow
and then the Armenian cucumber began to grow …

So with scarlet-flowering runner beans curling
round your pearly garlic-dimpled thighs,
I newspaper-packed you in my garden shed,
hoping you’d not rot, and still be there today
as, and this is just aching to be said,
I do truly dig my Allotment Man. Let’s play.


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