You are here

Festival Notebook

Kingsley Amis

CLOSING SCENES of the Salisbury Festival:

Haydn and Mozart in St. Edmund’s Church,

A building soon to be deconsecrated

Because irrelevant to civic needs

And turned into a meaningful hotel.

Involuntarily the mind throws up

Fancies of Japanese, back from Stonehenge,

Quaffing keg bitter by the pulpit stair,

Swedes booking coach-tours in the chancel.


SALISBURY becomes a part of Area 5

In 1974, and so its mayor,

Whose office dates back to 1611

(The year of the King James Bible, actually),

Will soon be as irrelevant as the church,

But need not be turned into anything.


LATER THAT NIGHT, outside the City Hall,

Past the Cadena, Debenham’s, Joyland,

Men of the 1st Bn. the Royal Scots

Perform the historic ceremony of Tattoo.

Plaids, bonnets, flash of tenor-drummers’ sticks,

The pipes, stir the blood unmeaningfully

Till ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’ rings out

In the quick march, and relevance is restored.


From Poetry Nation No 2 (1974)

Explore more