In September 2014 The Poetry Society worked with Hands Across the Border, an initiative set up to mark the Scottish Referendum, to commission poems from a selection of former Foyle Young Poets exploring ideas of national identity, the concepts of borders, crossings, unions and separations – and what it is to build something together as a community. This is one of the poems that was produced.

You can read more about the Hands Across the Border project, and the other poems, elsewhere on our website.

Last Chance Love Letter

by Haf Davies

I’ve heard alcohol makes writing this kind of thing easier
so I’m drinking the whisky you gave me last Christmas
but I still don’t know what I should say.
It’s too late to wine and dine, flash the cash,
or apologise with some other rhyming cliché
when you’re sharing meals and a mortgage.
But if you stay, I’ll do what you asked:
less complacency, more compromise.

I’m sorry I didn’t listen,
that I dismissed your outrage as hormones,
and assumed we only disagreed
because you didn’t understand.
Being aloof and assertive served me well
with strangers under strobe lights,
but you’re a companion, not a night-club conquest.
So I’ll hold your hand while you say your grace,
and clear a space for you in the study.

I’m not suggesting we start doing everything together
or renew our vows barefooted on a beach,
none of that ‘I don’t know where I end
and where you begin’ nonsense:
I end here, and you start there.
If you stay, we can rebuild that boundary,
redefine our differences and mark where we meet.
I won’t overstep or undermine.
Please don’t leave, I’ll be better this time.

BBC Proms teamed up with The Poetry Society to programme Proms Extra Lates, a series of exciting late-night performances in the Elgar Room, Royal Albert Hall. The relaxed cabaret-format events showcase young talents from the worlds of poetry and music. This year’s featured poets are Sarah Howe, Jon Stone, Megan Beech, William Letford, Inua Ellams, Liz Berry, Jack Underwood and Holly Hopkins. Presenter Georgia Mann comperes. All events are recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio 3.

Inua Ellams and Liz Berry
Inua Ellams and Liz Berry – both performing at the Proms Extra Lates soon.

Proms Extra Lates at the Royal Albert Hall Elgar Room are free events, but tickets must be booked in advance unless you have attended that evening’s Prom (visit or call 0845 401 5040).

  • Thursday 23 July
    Sarah Howe performs poems alongside Modal Point
  • Thursday 30 July
    Jon Stone performs poems alongside The John Garner Quartet
  • Thursday 6 August
    Megan Beech performs poems alongside Vula Viel
  • Thursday 13 August
    William Letford performs poems alongside Bahla
  • Thursday 20 August, 10.45-11.45pm
    Inua Ellams performs poems alongside the Mark Pringle Trio
  • Thursday 27 August, 9.45-10.45pm
    Liz Berry performs poems alongside Project Jam Sandwich
  • Friday 4 September, 10-11pm
    Jack Underwood performs poems alongside Follow the Rats
  • Wednesday 9 September, 10.15-11.15pm
    Holly Hopkins  performs poems alongside Flea Circus
19 August 2015

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