Image by Image by Mark Mather

Poem introduction

There is a place in Norfolk called Wells-Next-the-Sea that has a poetry festival, and I was invited to speak at their poetry festival. When the bloke phoned to invite me I thought he must have some kind of strange verbal tick since he kept saying ‘Wells-Next-the-Sea and I thought it can’t be called that, that would be ungrammatical, it must be Wells-Next-to-the-Sea. When I drove to Wells to do my reading I saw the sign saying ‘Welcome to Wells-Next-the-Sea’ and realized that actually he was quite right and it doesn’t have a ‘to’ in it. Afterwards, when I wanted to write about my experiences in Wells-Next-the-Sea, I thought that for the sake of consistency I would leave out the word ‘to’ wherever it should occur in the poem.

Wells-Next-the-Sea

Wells-Next-the-Sea

I came this little seaside town
And went a pub they call The Crown
Where straight away I happened see
A man who seemed quite partial me.
I proved susceptible his charms
And fell right in his open arms.
From time time, every now and then,
I hope meet up with him again.


from First of the Last Chances (Carcanet, 2003), © Sophie Hannah 2003, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Books by Sophie Hannah