A BALLAD FOOTNOTE
‘that little tent of blue’
We’re driving east in the winter sun,
its rays, a reddish yellow dazzle.
Reality testing, phenomenal,
they’re splayed about the far horizon
and cast on walls a leafless shadow.
Up ahead, the gibbous moon
rises above built-environment neon
waxing in that tent of blue …
Then round the perimeter of Reading Gaol,
we pick out by its locked front entrance
an agent’s board with the words: FOR SALE.
But whether, behind, that remnant glow
or ahead this pallid, chilly distance
weighs and finds us wanting, I don’t know.
12 December 2019
Peter Robinson is the poetry editor for Two Rivers Press and teaches at the University of Reading. His TRP publications include Bonjour Mr Inshaw, The Constitutionals: a Fiction, and Foreigners, Drunks and Babies: Eleven Stories.
The Two Rivers Press illustrated edition of The Ballad of Reading Gaol is available here.
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[…] Robinson’s poem about Reading Gaol being put up for sale (‘A Ballad Footnote’), with its associations of Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment, depicts an eerie, unsettling landscape, […]