Is where the first two Harry Potter films were shot.
What an honor to be at the site
Of where literary disfigurement took place—
Where miscast preteens masqueraded
As Rowling’s characters,
Clumsily rendered after the paper shredder
Tore up six hundred pages worth of novel
Into cheap imitation cinema.
But, to his credit, Daniel Radcliffe
Has since made a name for himself—
Naked on stage as the star of Equus,
Blinding horses and blind-sighting critics on Broadway.
Got to start somewhere, right?
The rule of proper coach etiquette is
Turn off your engine whilst stationary,
So says the signs at
The rule of common courtesy is
Turn off the flash when taking pictures in the castle,
Though that makes for some blurry photos
Of swords and armor framing doorways
With skulls and antlers as the centerpiece
And replicas of knights in shining armor
On their armored horses,
Posed like the wood carvings of the battlefield
In medieval furniture on display—
You have your saints, your soldiers and your royals
And their thrones and their pedestals,
Intricacy of the keenest of woodcarvers.
With the flash turned off,
A photo emerges dark, with tourists silhouetted
Against the stained-glass window—
Artsy, I think, and stylistic,
Ominous indoors and luminous outdoors,
Clear skies and green trees in the background of darkness.
Let’s have a seat near this window
Where two mirrors on opposite walls face each other,
And I’ll take a picture of you taking my picture,
And you’ll take a picture of me taking your picture,
And the suit of armor in the background can be a curious bystander,
While no flash reflects off the mirrors—
Courtesy is a win-win situation.
These portraits of aristocratic noblemen
In feminine wigs and trailing robes
And pale noblewomen with rosy-cheeked somber faces
Are much more lifelike than the creepy wax figures
With dead eyes following our every move
And recorded voices conversing with the houseguest,
A young Winston Churchill.
Hey, I wanted to go to the
But it’s only for children, sadly.
What have I learned?
Four-star hostels are better than three-star hostels,
For the cheaper towels and better laundry services,
Spacious rooms with panoramic windows,
Bathrooms with no spiders and toilet handles that stay on.
Finally, a good night’s sleep
And no more dirty clothes stinking up my luggage.