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MARK FIDDES

 

 

 

Mark Fiddes

Mark Fiddes lives in South London and, therefore, spends most of his life on the Northern Line. Having studied philosophy, he has worked in Washington, D.C. as a journalist and around the world as a creative director. Last year, he was a finalist in the National Poetry Competition, runner up in the Fish Publishing International Flash Fiction Competition and shortlisted in the Lightship International Fiction Competition. Follow him on Twitter @fiddesmark .

 


 

 

 

Highly Commended in the Gregory O'Donoghue International Poetry Competition

 

 

The Lost Gardens of West Norwood

 

Spring has not been a great success

In the claylands of South London

Now daubed in dog shit fauvre

And splashes of sepsis yellow

May’s the cruellest month on record

Even the crows have lost interest

 

“We are now approaching Balham”

The recording announces

Without sympathy or respect

Weary sheds and flailing trellis

Early cabbage and sacks of woe

Spilling bottles to Streatham Hill

Where late commuters goggle eyed

Wait outraged as stranded salmon

 

The lost gardens of West Norwood

Buried many Edens deep in

A conspiracy of ivy

Yield the flotsam of summers past

Plastic chairs and cricket bats

The slow rusting barbeque

That carbon dates the happiness

Of a long divorced family

 

In the drizzle of Gypsy Hill

Pale mansions damp with memory

Dissolve gently as pain-killers

Into the moss-choked guttering

We shunt on to Crystal Palace

Twinned with Melancholia

A murder scene with brick arches

And ornamental dinosaurs

 

Behind the sweating café glass

A man holds his lover closer

Than a cello, breathing her hair

For the first bowed note of summer

While on we roll to London Bridge

Their kiss blooming deep within us

 

©2013 Mark Fiddes

 

 

Judge's Statement

This is a rare and excellent railway poem, reminiscent of the giant work by Philip Larkin,  echoed very cleverly in  the kissing couple, their embrace ‘blooming deep within us.’ But instead of the water meadows of Lincolnshire we have ‘the claylands of South London’. The formal verse structure, the relentless movement towards Crystal Palace that contains love behind glass, creates a terrific sense of movement and control.

 

Author Links

 

Wall Flower Power: Mark Fiddes's poetry blog

Fish Anthology 2012 containing flash fiction by Mark Fiddes

Lightship Anthology containing a story by Mark Fiddes

 

 

 

 

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