Monday, November 17, 2014

Lovetot in the way

Sheffield's iconic Castle Market is to be demolished to make way for a park. It shouldn't bother me, I live in New Zealand now, not South Yorkshire, England, and yet I feel a pang of nostalgia for the old familiar things. I bought my satchel there, on a shopping trip with my great aunt May.

I've always felt my satchel to be something of a lucky charm, despite the frequency with which the stitching has come undone, and last year I was proved right when a story it featured in won Short Fiction's Seventh Annual Competition, having been illustrated beautifully by Jo Davies.

 Jo Davies' illustration of my satchel for Short Fiction #7. 

Jo had not seen a picture of my satchel but drew her interpretation from the description in my story, "While Women Rage in Winter", and generously gave me the resulting art work, for which I'm more grateful than she could possibly know.

The Satchel of Castle Lovetot                     

What made you outlast all others, baby?
The tapestry and canvas were just fad.

But you I used and often pushed aside
because you had a broken buckle,

you snagged a hole in my cardigan,
and you had a habit,

when I ran, of flapping like a cancan,
losing things, yet still I clung to you.

Five pounds you cost in ’86.
The stall in Castle Market was hung

like a camel in a caravan
with dozens like you, but my heart

was set on you because I loved
the way your skin felt against my knuckles.

Old enough to appreciate you now,
I caress you. Daily, let you ride my hips.

There's a great history of Sheffield, including the lovely named origins of Castle Market, in Carl Lee's Home; A Personal Geography


Lori said...

OOO, a bag post! You know I love these!

I love the image and the poem. I like the ambiguity of who of the two (the bag or the owner) is now old enough for appreciation.

Rachel Fenton said...

Thanks, Lori. I love my satchel! xx

Tim Jones said...

I enjoyed this post and this poem very much too!

I have to confess that (despite knowing you) Sheffield did not have a clearly defined space in my personal psychogeography until the minutes leading up to and including 4.28pm BST on Sunday 6 July 2014. But now, whenever I think of Sheffield, one iconic name springs to mind: Vincenzo Nibali, and one iconic climb: the 33% ascent of Jenkin Road.

But it may be a while before Stage 2 of the Tour de France 2014 inspires me to a poem.

Rachel Fenton said...

Sheffield could twin with Wellington for street ascents, Tim!

I just had a pleasant five mins reading about Nibali claiming his first yellow jersey - very cool - the man must have knees of titanium!

Thank you very much for reading - glad you enjoyed the post!