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Dominic Fisher Poetry

As if a tree could stutter briefly into being
 lose all its leaves then vaporise”

Bonfire Night from a Loft Window 

Then three come along

There you are at the poetry bus stop waiting as Christmas, colds and flu, snow and rain go by, and then three poetry gigs come along at once. The first of these poetry buses will take us to London and the other two will take us into the centre of Bristol.

I should add that there is a great deal of poetry transport on the Bristol horizon and going past at the moment – including Denise Riley on 21st April at the Bristol Poetry Institute Annual Reading. There is also the Lyra Poetry Festival, which is a whole fleet of buses, from April 22nd to May 1st. And if you’re in reach of Bristol a good way to to keep up with this and more, search Facebook for Bristol Poetry Hub, also Silver Street Poetry, and The IsamBards.

As part of the Lyra Festival, on Sunday 23rd April, the IsamBards – comprising Pameli Benham, Deborah Harvey, David Johnson, and myself – will be leading a poetry walk in the centre of Bristol, sharing original poems inspired by the places, people and history as we go. And we will of course be stopping at the now empty plinth where the infamous statue of slave trader Edward Colston stood. Before that Pat Simmons will be guest poet at Silver Street Poetry at Centrespace at 12.30 on Friday March 31st, And before that on Sunday 26th March I’ll be reading at Torriano with Kathy Pimlott, hosted by Pauline Seawards.

On 23rd April with the IsamBards I’ll be reading the poem that follows. It’s a sonnet in which each of the ten syllables in each line represents a step of one metre for a distance of 1400 metres through central Bristol. The idea for the poem came from a work by Bristol artist Richard Long, and much of the language in it was found on the way.

1400m from Silver Street  

after Richard Long, A Walk in Avon – 1986 

Count steps to Bridewell Street down Nelson Street
feeling the footpath vibrating. We ask
our phones or ourselves is this where we are?
400 metres, outside Blue Arrow.

At the end of Quay Street there is no quay
among the fountains no trams, as we walk
through time, the bombing raids, or by tall ships
where ferries leave from the hidden river.

You turn left into Queen Square. Plane trees ssh
above lunchtime, gulls, William III.
At Welsh Back, Avon Fire and Rescue drive
slow, flame red, over the floating harbour 

and beyond the lights St Mary Redcliffe
points a gold bird at the one o’clock sun.

(From The Ladies and Gentlemen of the Dead
 The Blue Nib, 2019)