Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Fuchsia Bridesmaid in the Poetry Scrum

There was a small dance to the internal head tune of ‘I will survive’ in the kitchen last week as I was runner up in a national poetry competition. Later, after the euphoria wears off, I suffer from my usual brief bridesmaid complex, which is of course, churlish, ungrateful and very immature. When will I get to be the bride, I think? I want the gorgeous dress with many many net skirts, ride of the Valkyrie on the organ and a reception in which important poetry people pin cheques onto my heaving and humble bosom (I think a Greek Wedding would be more fun, lucrative and better than gifts of poetry magnet kits or decorative notebooks made from the bark of trees). I want assembled poets to dance very badly to tracks from the seventies and eighties, get drunk and argue about the merits of male versus female rhymes. I want to be waved off on a holiday in which the moon will drip with honey.

However, I have to acknowledge that I got past ‘The Sifters’ and gained admission to the church; I even got to trot up the red carpet behind what is, I admit, a far better poem; this in itself must be cause for joy. I have never been a bridesmaid in real life as I am usually bigger that the groom let alone the bride so it doesn’t make for a good visual at the photographic stage. I think at my advanced age I would also now be deemed to be a Matron of Honour, which still has ‘Carry On Up the Aisle’ connotations for me, I can almost hear Sid James’ dirty laugh as I squeeze into a fuchsia concoction with matching floral headband. As a poetry bridesmaid I at least have the fun of holding the train and enjoying the whole ceremony.

I think I may have to start nurturing all the top qualities of a decent prop forward in the line-out to grab that poetry bouquet when it is up for grabs. Better poems, more muscular power and an elbow in the eye when the ref isn’t looking. Of course the fuchsia concoction may cramp my style but I am prepared to rip a few seams in my endeavours to write a better poem. It’s not about ego it’s about the work and any poet or writer would willingly squeeze themselves into a fuchsia frock and go into a rugby scrum if it were the only thing that allowed them to create something magnificent with the wonderful power of language.

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