New poetry from this year's official poet Sally Jenkinson

July 1, 2024

We’d like to thank our Glastonbury Poet in Residence for 2024, Sally Jenkinson, a writer, performer, care worker and mum from Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Sally Jenkinson’s recent chapbook ‘Pantomime Horse, Russian Doll, Egg’, published by Burning Eye Books, is a poetry cycle exploring labour and childbirth. Her work has also recently been featured in Lighthouse Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, The Morning Star, and on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Power Lines’.

She now lives in the Forest of Dean with her cats, husband, and various fierce and magical children.

Sally Jenkinson performed in the Poetry and Words Tent, Theatre & Circus, on Sunday at 4.17pm.

Below are Sally Jenkinson’s wonderful poems, which perfectly capture the essence of Festival.

For more info, head to her website and Instagram.

Who Am I This Year?

At twenty years old

with a grief-heavy heart
that refused to mend, I was dragged
into the fields by golden friends.

Amy sang all of her pain
and she sang mine too.
The rain trickled inside my poncho
and mud squelched between my toes.

I saw all the humans dancing
under the damp hug
of a grey Avalon sky.
Their bodies sparked like quartz
against the cold of my bones
and began a small fire.


Late twenties, my Saturn return

and daring to call myself a writer.
Communing with poets
under a mechanical spider.

My heart sang open like a peony
Greenfields to Silver Hayes –
legs strong enough to carry me.

The festival was a mezze plate spread out
before us, and we ate and ate and ate.


Special mention –
to the one I watched on TV from my bed
with my body a wreck, and my newborn baby
snoozing to Stormzy on my chest.
If I’m honest, that Glastonbury
was one of my most precious.


So who am I this time?
Block9 has got nothing
on the chaos of my house –
bursting at the seams with kids, it’s a miracle
that I’m even allowed out.

And I’m so tired, that the idea of lying
in a tent alone, as the Glade’s bass line lullaby
rolls over me all night
feels like a spa day right now.

So hand me a beer
and let me hear Ralph McTell
Whilst. Sitting. Down.


Here’s what I know –
there’s no one right way
to join the greatest show on earth.

Bring your joy, bring your hurt
bring your righteous terror at the state of our world.
Bring your dancing shoes or your aching bones
bring your whole gorgeous crew
or take your sweet time alone.

Tent pitching or sofa-watching,
music is the ghost ship we sail in,
so whoever you are this time around –

here’s to the magic that can happen
when the humans sing
when the humans dance.

Please show me the magic
that can happen
when the humans sing
when the humans dance.

The Queue

A line of sweaty ducklings
following Mama
down to the pond to drink

A crocodile of space cadets
deleting the real world
waiting to hop aboard the rocket ship

A cavalcade of washerwomen
walking to the water’s edge
but instead of laundry
there’s something in our grubby souls
that we need to cleanse

A slow armada of lovers and dancers
A wild caravan of strangers, waiting

A nervous parade
A dusty column
An escape
The doctor will see you now
Leave your offering at the feet of the Goddess
Head first into the whirlpool

The whale opens her mouth
and swallows you

Decima for the Artists

The first thing I fall in love with
is the art. It’s the scale of it.
Staring up in wonder and awe.
Cars upended, ancient and new –
Park magic, stitched by bold women –
Meatpacking street springs from green field –
Stilted creatures swarm the circus –
My heart sings with what art can do.
Here’s to the makers and painters,
the wild creators of this land.

Overheard in a Field in England

I just want to eat everything
It’s weird that everything can be so beautiful in here
when everything is so sad out there

My Dad brought us here when we were little
lost me somewhere over there
for almost an hour

It’s nice to be back
I can’t believe I’m wishing for rain
Just a little bit
A sweet cold kiss
We conceived our babies here
Friday has a special energy doesn’t it
Do you want another one?
My treat

Let’s lie on the grass before it disappears
I don’t want to decide anything today
I’ll follow you into battle
I’ll see you left of the sound booth
I’ll love you til the day I die
I’ll catch you later

PLEASE stop saying delulu
I can’t laugh anymore I’m going to wee myself
I’m so glad I found you when I did
Hold this a minute
What’s that one that goes

Lalala la
Catch me before I go
dada da da
I’m not here for long

Shadorma after PJ Harvey

the air stops
we’re outside of time

this sweet awe
reminds me
why I named my kid for her

music as magic

For Absent Friends

You know there’s one song that’s their song.
You’re scared to hear it in case your
sweet heart breaks all over again.

That’s ok, let the music bring
them close to you, just for a while.

You know, grief can look like dancing.
Grief can look like joy as you hold
them in your heart and love them still.

Dance your best for the ones you miss.
Raise a glass for the ones we miss.

Golden Shovel after 47soul

Music as imagine if all this love could travel? Surely we
Would already have peace. Music as just
Don’t look away. Music as revolution might need
Dancing. Music as more noise more solidarity more protest more
Eyes on. Music as we just need more light.

Notes from Sunday Morning

My tent is boiling me
like rice in a bag,
so I drag my roll mat out onto the grass
to snooze.

Generators hum.
A confused chiffchaff has been giving it ten for hours already.
Sound systems shudder to life and begin to sing.

This isn’t a utopia.
If it was, there would be more loo roll –
Among other things.

But the sounds of humans waking and greeting
in the morning air –
Swapping stories of adventure,
Of joy and despair –
is music
to me.

This weekend we have been collecting treasures

These shiny coins:
Heilung, Balming Tiger –
Bands I hadn’t heard before.
Slipping then into my pocket,
taking them home to adore.

This curious object:
Knowing this many people want change –
so many of us want another way, but
change is still happening
too slowly to save us anyway.

This 24 carat gem:
Simbi said that if she is great
then we are all great. And she was flawless.
Let me take that diamond
home for my daughter.

This dusty ancient scroll which reads:
Festival line-ups, dance floors,
revolutions – everything in this world
works better when women
are up at the front.
Let’s go girls.

Sally Jenkinson

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