Journal: a Bath Festival performance

One of the things I really love as a poet is getting out and about, reading my work and meeting people. Over several years I have performed in Bath, Bristol, Bradford on Avon, London, Penzance and St Albans. However over the Spring Bank holiday weekend I had the privilege of performing on the Outdoor stage in Old Bond street at the brand new Bath Festival. As 45 minutes was a pretty long slot to fill, I decided to read a selection of my own poems plus a couple of famous poems about Bath, as a prelude to asking my audience to write down their thoughts about Bath; what it means to them as a tourist, a regular visitor, resident or Bath worker. I was pleased with how the performance went. I gathered quite a crowd by the end and best of all I had some fabulous notes to draw on to create an impromptu poem about the lovely city of Bath which the audience loved.


What Bath Means to us – a collaborative poem

It has it all, this city: history, culture, art, hot thermal springs,
stunning architecture, seven surrounding hills,
this present moment, pavement, poetry.
You can see green from every street
except the one called Green Street.
So many friends in this city,
so many old stones,
so many surprising possibilities.
Every weekday, lines of schoolkids with matching bags and anoraks;
every weekend visitors milling, sipping tea in teashops,
making memories, making plans.
Bath is where we come back to again and again, returning after twenty years
to find what we thought we had lost, still there, waiting.
This city is varied, it’s vibrant, it has loving streets, where
we’ll always bump into someone we know, where
we’ll always make new friends.

Susan Jane Sims and audience