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Picture 10153723, photograph on a postcard, image copyright Mary Evans

An Audience with Dirk
by Jill Sharp


Home at last from the Riviera, knowing

he must not look back


he walks Knightsbridge in dark chapeau

and shades. The grey light hurts.


At night, rehearsing his own lines –

memoir, novels – he is word


perfect. After the performance

a hushed procession wends


towards him and each advancing celebrant

drops their gaze,


suddenly shy to lay before him

their unread offering. One swift flourish


and he’s marked the pristine page

with a blue-black emblem,


raising his head, briefly, to show those



The people find him gracious; but gods,

when they grow old, crave


adoration. How else are they to know

if there are still believers?



© Jill Sharp

Picture 10153723, photograph on a postcard, image copyright Mary Evans



Jill Sharp has worked as a tutor with the Open University and has also taught excluded teenagers. Her poetry has been published in many magazines including Acumen, Envoi, The Frogmore Papers, The Interpreter’s House, Mslexia, Prole, Poetry Salzburg Review, Stand, and Under the Radar. Her work has also appeared in various anthologies, most recently Pale Fire (Frogmore Press) and Contemporary Gothic Verse (Emma Press), as well as online at And Other Poems, Ink, Sweat and Tears and London Grip. Her pamphlet Ye gods was published by Indigo Dreams (2015), and she was one of six poets in Vindication, an anthology from Arachne Press (2018). Her poem ‘Cemetery crow’ was placed joint-second in the 2020 Keats-Shelley Prize. Jill was a founder member of Swindon’s BlueGate Poets, and she has run regular writing workshops at the Richard Jefferies Museum at Coate.


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