Sonnet of the Week: Surveillance

In 2010 Guernsey ran a competition for “poems on the buses.” This poem, designed to be displayed and read on a bus, came third. It also started my intimate poetic relationship with  Guernsey, where I’ve been placed third, second and second in three consecutive competitions (each with different judges).

Paul Francis.


Surveillance Don’t turn around. The woman in the seat behind is known to keep eccentric pets – watch out for iguanas . Don’t repeat this, but her husband’s run up massive debts through gambling. No, I told you not to stare. Natural to feel curiosity about your fellow passengers, but there is where it ends. Top level secrecy must be maintained. The girl who’s just got on might be a terrorist, but we can’t say. Pretend you’re reading till the threat has gone. You wonder how we know all this is true. Don’t worry. That bus going the other way has got a poem on it. About you.


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