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A Ballad Footnote – a poem by Peter Robinson

A BALLAD FOOTNOTE

‘that little tent of blue’

Oscar Wilde

~

1

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 …

 

2

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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Exhibition of artwork inspired by Oscar Wilde’s ‘Ballad of Reading Gaol’

Have you seen this yet? It’s on at the Turbine House till Sunday 15th Sept, open daily, 10-6pm, and has been featured on ITV news (watch their short film here). The decor of the exhibition space coincidentally goes rather well with the cover of our new edition of the poem!

Gaol exhibitionIMG_7846Ballad ed 3 reprint 4