‘Malvern Hills’

Fair Field at Ledbury Poetry Festival – photographs by Graeme Braidwood

Mist. A man outside his tent,

unsure of what he’s doing in a tent,

in that he has absolutely no idea

how he got there, and the grass

is not the same colour he remembers

and the hills are not hills –

they are giants.

It could be Friday evening,

in June, at least he think it’s Friday

but it’s hard to tell because

the matte grey of the sky is timeless.

A telephone rings.

A woman’s voice is on the other end;

she wants to know the truth.

A tower block burns in the distance.

The man sees this as symbolic

of the necessity of running

for surely the flames will spread

and then he will have nowhere to turn,

no one to validate his search.

Cut to Shoreditch.

A couple are having a conversation

on a bench. A bus driver slams

the breaks, a child drops their toy.

Grey sky, wind.

The woman tells the man,

she is leaving-

she’s tired of sitting on the sofa

while he slips between

two states of being – one employed

by a search for purpose,

the other tied to a life of writing.

The man tells the woman –

writing is the only purpose he believes in,

she laughs and tells him

he must be dreaming.

Exit woman.

Shot of the man’s hands –

clenched, road noise, fade out.

Return to the hills,

the man is alone.

He is holding a map in his hand.

He is out of breath.

Close up of mud on his shoes.

Wind in the trees. Rain.

Sophie Fenella is Poet in Residence for Fair Field in a collaboration between Penned in the Margins and The Poetry School. Read more of Sophie’s responses to Fair Field on our blog.