It was the sonnet wot won it


foxy_and_di1– For Fido and Josie and the youth of ‘97

Princess Diana, no longer shall you front Kula Shaker.
A girl with writing on her jeans, in a photo
Of a photograph. That summer, we paddled canoes,
Stole glimpses of Sophie’s legs, and toasted
The new government. When a rose fell, once again
Into a bowl of thorns. We watched the funeral,
On video, again and again. Once backwards.

I stayed up for Portillo, all night . . .
Rapid pulsing breaths from exaggerated lips
But summer ended, and Diana passed away
In flying metal, accusations, and headlines
Only to rise again, phoenix-like
Reincarnated as a hardback coffee table book
Twenty five quid.


This is quite an old poem – I think I wrote this in 2004. At some point between the general election and The Death of Princess Diana, I turned sixteen. Perhaps for that reason, the year 1997 stuck in my memory as evocative of a particular moment, teetering on the brink of adulthood in a strange and rapidly changing world. Oh, and I know it’s not a proper sonnet.

I’m not really sure what’s going on with the picture.

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