Seán Street

  Peg Entwistle, September, 1932

Back in her room, make-up, perfume, trays
of rings by the window’s continuing stare 
toward others’ pathways into future days,
while on the hill, Gardenia lingers in the air.

The tragedy of spiralling aspiration,
no choice but to be a bird and try to fly
but grounded by weights of expectation
under this word on its giant screen of sky.

The tired ache from every day of trying
to find a match for what they seem to want,
and do it in one take. The art of dying,
somewhere to find yourself, a place to haunt.

Stars above and below and all around. It’s late,
but the fall to fame’s about to be accomplished.
The dream factory’s deception lying at her feet,
one last chance to make the world astonished.


Millicent Lilian “Peg” Entwistle was a Welsh-born actress who gained notoriety after she jumped to her death from the top of the letter “H” of the Hollywood sign in 1932, at the age of 24. Her favourite perfume was said to be Gardenia.

Seán Street’s most recent prose is The Sound of a Room (Routledge, 2020). His latest poetry collection is Journey Into Space (Shoestring Press, 2022). In 2023, Bloomsbury Academic publish his new book, Wild Track: Sound, Text and the Idea of Birdsong.  He is emeritus professor at Bournemouth University.