You know how it goes – another A4 brown envelope hits the doormat, you rip it open, braced for a rejection, read the slip which says . . . hang on, it says: “Thanks, I’d like to take your poem. With best wishes, Hugo W.”
Within hours of reading Hugo Williams’ note, the phone rings. It’s the Spectator’s Arts Desk to check my poem is still available (apparently, a two month wait is considered worthy of an apology). Then, after a couple of days, the emotional back lash – is it true, did I dream it up, will it really go in?
Come Easter, there it is, better than a chocolate egg, on page 13 of the March 26th edition, all shiny and brand new in the middle of an article about Tory in-fighting.
Friends are duly phoned. They buy copies (many in disguise for political reasons) and I sit back and try to imagine the 60,000 readers who might be considering my poem right now. Will it help them think differently about the refugee crisis? Does poetry make anything happen? Are we all wasting our time?
Much too heavy for the Easter break. I decide on a piece of chocolate and settle down to read some mouth-watering book reviews, including one I may well spend my ill-gotten fee on: Seeing Ourselves: Women’s Self-Portraits. It’s by art historian Frances Borzello, full of lavish illustrations and new research into gifted female painters who currently languish in museum basements. Shame on you, Establishment!