Where new writing finds its voice

The Reading

Hugo Williams

If I turn round now
I’ll be back at school,
arranging the chairs in the Library
with Briggs and Napier.
Briggs is chair monitor for readings.
He’s flicking through a copy of my new book
An Actor’s Life for Me
and making rude noises.
A display card on the table
shows me holding up
the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry.

They have taken me down to the gym
and put me inside the horse.
They push it across the splintery floorboards
while I run along inside,
looking out of the hand-holds,
trying to stay upright
till it crashes into a wall.
Photos of me with the Queen
are floating in the bath
when they force my head under
and hold it there.