Closing Down the Festival: Chester Literature Festival 2015

25 10 2015

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And so the stages are undressing themselves;
the skirting sagging already around the plinth,
a chair, lonely as a mannequin in an empty shop,
presents goosepimpled poses to an absent audience.

The boiler idles like a car waiting to leave
while all the proud portraits above the panelling
look tiredly away. Curtains taller than pines
are leaning now, the windows eager to share

again the weddings, mayoral meetings, piano recitals.
Two festival posters shoulder the stagescreen still,
the illustrations promising a wintery Chester:
blown scarves, bobble hats, families playing in fallenleaves

of crisp punctuation, mittened dog walkers.
Central to this shifting season (plumred alders / mustard oaks),
the town hall is inflated in bubblegum-green,
its vast doors, clear as clouds, are open and endless.

Light leaks onto one poster, trickling in from a gap
in the blinds until a hot-air balloon, rising in blankpaper sky,
is illuminated – the wicker basket being inspired away
by inverted commas, briefly, for as the light lulls

the poster, the room, the building, the city
shuffle closer to the quiet of closed books.

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