Hotel poetry

I’ve just listened to a radio programme presented by Paul Farley, which examined the link  between hotels and writing. It  prompted me to look up my own ‘hotel’ poem, one that was absent from both my pamphlet and my book. I’m not sure why- I  think my editor thought hotel themed poems were ten a penny.
The poem came from my experience of traveling for work. I took a couple of those ‘airport- hotel- airport’ trips and the supposed glamour of travel revealed itself to me for what it was.   A  version of this poem appeared in Iota 90.

In the Hilton Hotel

I left my heart in the Hilton Hotel,
a throb in a twist of night wound sheets.

Other trips had been marred by loss;
the credit-card in Prague, missed
when gin infused tonic at 20000 feet;

Dad’s slim gold watch, sunk into the dust
shed by 4000 guests
behind a bedside lamp.

And the ring on a soap-dish
when I handed back the key;
unintended gratuities, found in the wake

of hung-over departures,
kept by those on scant wages.
My wife noticed the pallor and torpor

as she greeted me. Later, when she laid
her ear to the vacant room of my chest,
the game was up for good.




  1. I’m much taken with the idea that hotels are ten a penny. I’d never stayed in a hotel till I was in my 30s, and started going to conferences. Or maybe BandBs count? I wonder if I shall ever have camping dreams. Tents…those I do know.


  2. Hotel themed poems John, not hotels! I was in my thirties on those trips (only two) I took as a research nurse. The drug company would fly us out to Europe so that we could sit in a conference room and be told how great their product was and how we were going to prove it for them by doing clinical trials. I pointed out at the time that a visit to the hospital where I worked would have sufficed
    but they preferred to spend money on aviation fuel and croissants.


  3. As they do. Mind you, I went to NATE conferences in my holidays and had to pay for them myself…..and it was uni. Campuses. Come to think, hotels were when I was an Adviser, and thus in my 40s


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