‘The Devil’

Fair Field at Ledbury Poetry Festival – photographs by Graeme Braidwood

eats breakfast

on a Sunday morning,

with little to no thought

for the open mouths

on pavement,

the indigestible burger

nor the mourned hangover

of a seventeen year old’s



between parents

who ignore

phone calls

from debt collectors,

chart their quality of life

with the Devil’s bidding,

who laughs

at spreading riots,

looks the other way when

tower blocks fall,


never holds open palms

to those longing

for a quiet embrace,

a shook hand.

Devil —

your business

is a lovely little spot

on a Sardinian beach,

but someone said


are only learning

to survive.

Devil —

you are

unhygienic and hungry

– a bad combination

considering bins

are a reliable source of food

– muddy boots, fallen arches,

pole dancing crack taking stories

about disdain

for the people

who want solutions

but are given a hand

that hits      and hits again.

You won’t stop

our Parliament

of rats and mice

from eating

everything in sight,

as the burning building –

you paid to be removed –

falls behind

luxury apartments.


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.