clevedon literary festival

more than words

2023 – Festival poem!

So, listen out and strap yourselves in!

The prologue!


What did you do in the war daddy?

Well, I had a little potter in me little knotted snotter;

took a trip down to Clevedon town,

trousered a tome or two,

checked out the available slots for Caractacus Pots.

What about you?

Well, Michael soon had us swooning

by the light of a silvery June;

we gave a shout out to Ray,

forever blowing bubbles

at the soft soap awards.

Oh, oh, and there’s magic you know,

if you get on down to the Ade Bowen show;

dad dancing, Karaoke;

And there was Sue’s calligraphy epiphany,

and Gill and Jools, frettin’ over jimjams

(sisters were doing it for themselves).

And if perchance you struggle with your ABCs

then now is the window of your disconnect

made clearer by this ton of books.

There’s the Civil Society Plague unveiling

(least that’s how I read it).

You could catch it; we’re livin’ in a Disc World Clevedon,

that’s where Bob Cratchit meets Terry Pratchett.

Or maybe Change a Life – see tings different.

Cos, come rain or shine, I don’t mind,

Carol’s been scribing on the Hedgeline tonight;

and here’s nature, red in truth and Clore

it ain’t always the way it looks.

What goes up, they say, must come down

and if you don’t get that,

get yourself to where the sky is wide and the land is flat;

where audiences must be seen, not heard,

if you’ve a necklace and a hummingbird,

where its High Camp Friday with Frida and her freaky face salad.

And on the way, you can lose a man in Bombay. Well I did!

I ambled in with me mandolin, talked to the Tim…

(But alas, we’ll never know the outcome

for Shifty McGifty ‘cos Corderoy, she didn’t come).

And if I may, I‘d broach the subject

of Doris, she of the communist coach,

up for a ride with plenty of room inside;

and Mel’s belles, whose pose struck a blow

for those in the know.

Tell me, what does it take to Raise the Bar?

A hundred folk in a cinema, that’s what.

While Shepherd struts her stuff tonight,

we were seated on the ground

And thus they came, from far and wide

each cute Cnut, To Rhyme Against The Tide.

Life’s a Beach, innit!

And Matt and Jo and Tom and Jen

Spat their bars ‘til half past ten

Oh, will they no come back again?

(that’s the Oliphant in my room).

Up at Princes, perched with the merch,

filthy lucre was changing hands.

And Book Art? We had you covered!

So much that’s new, so much discovered.

Lizzie B got the comedy slot,

because she made Jayne laugh a lot.

And there was stuff for footie fans,

the also rans, not forgotten;

the sad dads and the glad dads –

boys to men and back again.

Big noise for the cartoon boys;

and we’re wondering if we could find

ten birds to feather your nest,

and as for the rest, well… tell me…

(Which way round goes the eagle’s head?

Get it wrong and you’ll end up dead –

At least that’s what Doctor Goebbels said)

And if that isn’t enough to faze ya

you could learn all about achondroplasia

(you can groan now if you like).

Tall tales of mystery and evaluation,

of Oswestry and forestry

(Ok, I lied about Oswestry, but I needed the rhyme!)

The prize that launched a thousand entries;

the journey is everything, yeah right, on yer bike.

So much to learn, it’s all in the telling;

how to make your stories compelling.

Glued to the speaker? Every boy and goil

takes Lora’s lead with Just Stop Oil.

And if you didn’t know any of that

In Clevedon town did Doris Hatt

A stately pleasure dome decree

On bandstands measureless to man

Whence the sacred Severn ran.

From the deck of the Waverlee.

Humans coating fish in batter,

sardines, cruising doon the watter

Oh Waverlee, why can’t you be true?

We were lending ears, shedding tears

grooving to Hitchen’s funkateers;

Rasha and Dasha and, no doubt, Donna and her Blitzen.

Set a spell and had us litzen, to Benjin,

who scarpered with his nyckelharpa

in the nick of time.

We were having a boogie, throwing some shapes,

such jollification, with Bacchus’s grapes.

And all the tots, who cartwheeled about a lot…

And still they come…, here…, just for the sea.

The Epilog

You merry band, you happy few,

the Oscars go to all of you.

It makes me want to cry out loud

Clevedon folk you made us proud.

So, raise your glass be of good cheer

And mind you all come back next year.


Isabel White July 2023

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