Pure poetry

John Hegley recalls his Unforgettable Five... in verse

1.At the benefit gig

I arrived at the interval and found 
there was only one socket 
and no adapter.
So, I would have to adapt
just like everyone else who had clowned
for that night's needy pocket; 
you could have lights 
OR sound. 

2. At a gig in North Lincolnshire

Friday night. Scunthorpe baths:
there is to be a DJ after we've done.
Before we start, people are baying:
DISCO DISCO DISCO! 
I feel it to be a good job I am here with the band 
offering swirling song. 
I am wrong.
We are not a disco. 

3. At the outdoor children's performance

We hope that our piece of theatre
was better than Robbers and Cops,
we hope you take something away with you
and you hope it's not one of our props.
Mind you, that's unlikely
considering how embedded you have been in our story.
How you have thrilled to the turns of our journey.
How you stood on the sands of forgetting.
How you wept as our characters faltered.
How we landed back safely together.
How you found it a gem of an outing.
How you'll carry that diamond forever. 

4. At a reading in Rotherham library

To the Wednesday night Rotherham Library audience,
I am describing myself back at ten years old.
I tell them how we climbed over an old garden wall
and went scrumping apples.
Then I ask
'Do you say "scrumping" up here,
or do you have a different word for it?'
'Aye, we do have another word for it:
Theft.'

This poem is taken from the title volume from this year’s show, Peace, Love and Potatoes

5. At the end of the Fringe

An Edinburgh run done, one
may look back and find a note 
stuck in throat or mind:
a lesson learned,
perhaps some daftness not confined to your own craft,
illumination beyond the focus pocus of your crew...
the boy who told you
that the difference between dogs and deckchairs
is that deckchairs cannot fly.

John Hegley: Peace, Love and Potatoes, Assembly Checkpoint, 14:30

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Published: 8 Aug 2017

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