For the duration of the Festival, our 2009 Poet in Residence, Adam Horovitz, will be writing poems for the official website.
written after watching Blur headline Glastonbury 2009
Ten unsteady Chinese lanterns sailed
across the sky like lovers,
lovers who had wounded us
whom we had not seen for years,
and the clouds were curtains opening
on a moon of swollen memory
and the sky was singing harmonies
that held the rain at bay.
And the rhythm of our dancing
broke like waves upon the shoreline
of giddy, glad rememberings
as songs swelled in our throats,
became a wall of happiness
invisible and everywhere
that we tagged with bright graffiti,
with a sweat-spray of euphoria.
And the band played on astonished
by the waterfalls of longing,
the swaying, stunned devotion,
how our hearts beat to their time.
We were blurring into one voice
-the crowd, the band, the music-
and the songs became the singers
in an alchemy of joy.
And in part it was nostalgia
for a world that seemed forgotten
in the wake of war and terrorists.
But it was also hope and hunger
for better times to come.
And time seemed not to function
as if the land had paused to watch us
as we sang out for tomorrow,
pounded mud into a mattress
and forgot the coming journey
back from skins that we’d been wearing
to work and home and heartache,
the minutiae of living
which will seem a little easier
now the music is within us
Down the Rabbit Hole
goes a giggling Alice
chasing the clock-carrying coney
who’s scratching his beard, snickering
and planning to plant a disco
in her head.
I follow, bustling past
the curious and the curiouser
carrying a piglet
I found at Pussy Parlure
which used to be a girl.
She’s still wearing flowers in her hair
but bristles are growing on her chin
at an alarming rate
and she’s been snorting all night.
I’m late, I’m late
but I can’t remember now for what.
The world is wrong and spinning
The tunnel sways like flesh.
I am inside out and pulsing
as I crawl through a no man’s land
of music, counting the broken bodies,
the dead minims and semi quavers.
And then there is a dancefloor
where the Queen of Hearts
tarts himself up
and pulls off moves that would make
John Travolta squirm with envy
as Rock the Casbah
is gobbled up by lasers
and girls with flamingo pink hair
smile like steel angels
and chant: “Off their, off their,
off their, off their
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS”
After a slow trudge, feet
Consumed by mud, I spring
Out of the main drag, the markets
Up to a land of Ukuleles ,
Semi-acoustic sibyls and time,
Time to stand and stare
Into the heart of music, the brief
Chill of dusk carried away by a violin.
To all the bands I could have seen,
know only this of me.
I’ll love you from a distance still
on vinyl and CD.
I might have come to Glastonbury
but it was not for music first;
it was for Shangri-la and cabaret
for sun, for mud, for verse
I came to coat myself with stone dust
chipping limestone in Green Crafts
to let the Insect Circus
guide me somewhere daft.
I want the View over Atlantis.
I want to climb the ribbon tower.
I want to go large down the Rabbit Hole.
I want to open like a flower.
I want free hugs from lairy trolls
and spicy cups of chai
I want the music of the moment
that a pretty girl goes by
with a seraphic little smile
planted on her face.
I want to interact in harmony
with the human race.
2 a.m. Friday Morning
Only the bone-crunch of drums,
a circle of wild faces,
cries of tribal longing.
Only the blare of brass,
the smoke stench
of 2000 flares on the hill.
Only the wolf whistles,
the gurgled laughter
of Rory, Richard, Adam
and Young Oliver
rocking out on the damp grass
to music only they can hear.
Only the tiger-faced
bank clerks gone feral.
Only the baby-faced beauties.
Only the fire stacks
the steward huddles,
the whisper of rain.
Only the tattooed man
calling “Dave!” to hill and mobile
and waving his arms
like an amorous baboon.
Only the dragon-sigh
of deflating balloons.
Only the lovers
lying still as spoons
on the candle-dream hillside.
Only the fairy lights
draped over shoulders
powered by hope.
This circle is as sacred
as they make it.
Only the laughter
erupting like lava.
Only truth, euphoria, hunger.
Only the stones.
Only the stones.
Home is where the mud lies easy
under the canvas, deep in the grass
home is where the footsore walker
comes to dissolve in sleep at last.
Home is where the music ceases
where the world is zipped away
Home smells of sweat and wet wipes
Home is not somewhere that you stay.
Home is a memory that fuels the music.
Home is a refuge that keeps you free.
Home is a tent peg big as an anchor.
Home is the place that lets you be.
When the crowds cease grinding
and the last band stops
when traders shut up all their shops
when monkey-faced children are fast asleep
then I go looking for the bass that’s deep
the bass that’s dark, that rattles your bones,
explodes your livers and your mobile phones.
It’s the only way to heal my legs.
I have to dance ’til the sun sits up and begs.
Ciderman, Ciderman, Does Whatever a Cider Can
My cider sense is tingling.
The cider bus is calling.
I’m eager to get mingling
The atmosphere’s enthralling.
And though the rain is tumbling
I’m eager to be drinking
and cheery-stagger mumbling
through the cider that I’m sinking.
My cider sense is singing.
My mobile I’m ignoring
though the insistence of its ringing
is getting rather boring.
I want the drunken loving.
I want that comrade cider feeling.
My cider sense is tingling.
My willpower is reeling.
You Are Ours
A Shangri-la found poem
Follow your leader down
to Shangri-la, citizen,
This is yours, luvbuds
from the astral knicker parlour
to the no-exit-sale hostage rental
the cheap and nasty;
the stimulation bar welcome.
A perfect world.
It’s a dead end luvbuds
everything you want is here.
Dancing in the moonlight,
sleeping in the sun.
It’s Shangri-la, citizen,
Follow your leader down
with loud women and open hearts
to a dead end perfect world
of astral knicker hostage.
Follow your leader, citizen.
Follow your leader down.
Shangri-la is yours, luvbuds.
You are ours!
Thunder curls through the sky in soggy stereo.
They are herding up sunhats in Babylon,
letting the kagouls out to graze.
Sun bursts through clouds;
an aria over Shangri-la
sung by a sharp-suited horse.
at Rock Worx in Green Crafts
He leans in, blows dust
from the eye of a face
he saw buried in limestone,
slakes off accumulated sea silt,
of the long extinct
This is a tender chisel-dance
of waking. His hands are white
with the stone flour of millennia
as he teases out features;
a river of beard,
eyes bulbous as oysters.
He is building a man
on the bones of the past.
They’re painting on sunshine in Bellaís field
pouring water on dusty old roads.
The sky is alive with daub-smear flags
and lanterns like firefly globes.
Tractors are buzzing like bee-swarms
pennants patter wind-blown applause.
Tent-weary travellers tumble like tides,
splash beer on Glastonbury’s shores.
A girl in glitter and bikini
spreads her wings to the sun like a moth
as a cityscape seethes into being,
a mosaic of canvas and cloth.
Beer-boys, brick red from sunburn
dance like lobsters just drawn from the pot.
Young girls draped in fashionable sneers
search for cool scowling spots.
Shamans with hairstyles like Moses
float in an aura of calm
two feet over the healing fields
so the plants will come to no harm.
Samaritans, beatniks, paparazzi
dance to a wicker devilís tune.
They all love the sun but theyíre waiting
for the rise, the rise of the moon
when stars shuffle out of the heavens
to lie on the throat of the hill
which roars with the song of the thousands
being welcomed to Glastonbury still.
Chinese lanterns float
in sea-blue skies;
night messages for the cool hours.
The fields are a map of shadows.
Bunting shivers on pressed-down grass
like dragons teeth.
The last tear of sun
burns into nothing.
Now the night is electric,
a blister of temporary palaces,
the conjugal rights of song.
Dancers shimmer down to the city of light
trailing a stream of bubbles,
a shiver of liquid music.