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.

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.




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