A Scene from 'The Beggar's Opera' VI 1731 William Hogarth 1697-1764 Purchased 1909 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N02437

A Scene from ‘The Beggar’s Opera’ VI 1731 William Hogarth 1697-1764 Purchased 1909 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N02437

 

Beggar’s Opera,  1963    

 

It being November, I wore my tartan mini,

knee high boots, white polo neck.

 

Me, being me, I took my part to

heart, even in rehearsal.

 

I wrapped my baby in a woollen

shawl, flung her like I kicked off

 

my shoes, not truly inhabiting my

skin. We whores rehearsed again

 

and again till heart and action as

one. Till perched on the stage

 

drinking tea, whispers passed one

to another – Kennedy is shot. Like

 

that moment on a see saw of

truth – what is real and what

 

is not.

This poem was written in response to a prompt on one of Wendy Pratt’s online monthly courses. November 2020. I can’t remember the exact prompt, but it was something to do recalling a momentous historical event.  I submitted it to Reach Poetry in February and it was published in March 2021. What I liked about writing the poem, was that I didn’t know where I was going with it. I imagined myself on the stage rehearsing – something I’ve never done before or since – and the ending came. Wendy Pratt has a wonderful way as a tutor of dropping a hint, a direction you hadn’t thought of, and away you go! The poem was popular with a number of Reach readers, which is always a plus.

JFK_limousine-1

President Kennedy and motorcade minutes before his assassination in Dallas, 22nd November 1963

 

References: Both photos are taken from Wikipedia and are in the public domain.

Painting of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera, Act iii Scene X1 . The opera was a satire of Italian style of opera. It used popular tunes of ordinary people. Satire of politics, poverty and injustice. 

Wendy Pratt has published 4 collections of poetry. She was the first female editor of Dream Catcher and her latest collection is When I Think of My Body as a Horse.

 

 

 

Stay up to date

Stay up to date

For recent news and event updates, why not sign up to my newsletter.

You have Successfully Subscribed!