Sezincote | Barney Ashton-Bullock

I’ve measured my days in summer fêtes that fade,
Annual tombolas, a Stromboli of remembrance;
The cheese, the wine, the bracelets we won,
As in another life, my Cotswolds one.

Apple-bobbing, mirth filled miscreants,
A tour of the grand house; “No heels on the parquet!
No fingers on the paintings!
And stay, if you will, on the carpet protectors!
And the banquettes are antiques and not for lounging,
Though the velveteen sheen does seem inviting!”

 “The historic collection of monogrammed decanters are over there to view
With the family crested canteens of cutlery,
And much elbow grease needed to clean that lot, fuck you!”

The Orangery where we ate homemade cake and drank wan tea,
Where the maitre’d overheard my hashed plea
That I thought it best you marry me.

You, flustered that our fête-won, wax encased prize cheese,
Of which there were three in a Fine Fare presentation box,
Might soon get hot, were we not
To wend our way back to the train;
It was, thus, you’d skirt mention of my heart’s intention
And I knew we’d not see Sezincote again.


Writer’s Commentary

Sezincote is a Raj inspired country house in the Cotswolds. I inadvertently discovered it on a country walk with a much missed boyfriend some years back and revelled in the retro nature of the pleasures offered by the collection of stalls and activities at its bi-annual fete that just happened to be on that day. We enjoyed a tour of the house by a wonderfully self-important and condescending tour guide, all against a backdrop of knowing that my relationship with the man I was with, was failing. I also wanted to imbue the verse with the feel of 19th Century light verse by adding touches
of poetic rhyming metre in places.


Barney Ashton-Bullock has had poems published in ‘The Pandorian’ ‘The New River Press Year Book’ and in the ‘Soho Nights II’ and ‘Soho Nights III’ pamphlets published by The Society Club Press. He has also written 3 theatrical song-cycles for Erasure’s Andy Bell as the polysexual character ‘Torsten’; ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’, ‘Torsten The Beautiful Libertine’ and ‘Torsten In Queereteria’ and, from these, has had three spin-off poetry publications published. ‘Mottled Memoirs’ in the performance programme for ‘Torsten The Bareback Saint’, the full poetry collection ‘Schema / Stasis’ by The Society Club Press and five poems known as ‘Filthy, Rhymey Murk’ that were included in the deluxe edition of the ‘Torsten In Queereteria’ album published by Cherry Red Records.

He performs his own poetry as the narrator on the current Downes Braide Association album ‘Skyscraper Souls’, is the organiser of ‘Soho Poetry Nights’ events and has, in the past, represented the UK through the Royal Court Young People’s Theatre with his theatrical poem ‘North’. His new pamphlet ‘Café Kaput!’ is published by Broken Sleep Books in May, 2020.

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