‘Don’t you know who I am?’

I am glad to say that the writer in question did not play that card when she arrived late for another writer’s event in Charlotte Square.

I knew who she was. Only the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy!

The member of staff controlling entry to the event did not seem to know who she was, however. Or perhaps she did and was making no exception for any latecomer, even the Poet Laureate.
With good grace, Carol Ann retreated with little fuss. I doubted that any intervention from me would have been welcome or helpful.

Years earlier, in 2009, I had thrilled to a reading from Carol Ann Duffy in the Main Theatre. (I still have my ticket clearly stating LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ADMITTED). It really was a dark and stormy night and that added to the atmosphere of her reading.

As she read ‘Premonitions’, the beautiful elegy she had written in memory of her mother, we listened, spellbound:

‘Then time only the moon. And the balm of dusk. And you my mother.’

Just as Carol Ann Duffy reached the conclusion of her poem, a loud rumbling of thunder was heard overhead.

‘A message from my mother’, the Poet Laureate quipped. Her late mother.


Derek Hotchkiss