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Poetry Masterclass at the Embassy Theatre
The woman who arrived late and sat beside me
did not have a copy of the poems but accepted an offer
to share mine. And so it began.
She referred to the presiding poet as Bill and,
before he’d begun to address himself to the first poem,
had taken a pen and scored briskly through three of its lines.
Audience feedback abounded. One woman down the front
wanted a simile rehabilitated as a metaphor, another
recommended the removal of the word ‘cocked’,
someone waving urgently from the back row requested
the addition of a comma. The woman beside me scribbled
no commas is GOOD on our copy of the poem.
And so it went, until the final line of the final poem drew forth
one final criticism for what appeared to be an unwarranted
change in tense. It’s subjunctive the woman beside me muttered.
As the poets shuffled from the stage I waited
in my seat, fannying about, fake-texting friends,
hoping she would give back the poems.
Leaving the theatre, I sidestepped a trike driven by a runaway toddler.
The mother’s face apologised for her girl, who, peddling hard,
was targeting the harbour at the end of the road.