Writings and Witterings


Lithping Around The Myths


My assurances that no small children were hurt or otherwise affected in the making of this poem (!) The theme at 42 Worcester in January was ‘Around The Myths In Eighty Words’ – sometimes you have to go with what’s in your head…

I posted to dVerse OpenLinkNight, why not give it a go? I’m wondering whether the humour is trans-Atlantic — gong by previous comments it is — hope so :)

Lithping Around The Myths

There wath Myth Thmith
at Primary Thchool,
Myth Bigger
featured large;
Mythter Thampthon,
Head Teacher;
Mythith Allthop,
she took charge.

‘Thtop lithping,’ she admonished, ‘thpeak proper,
like wot I do’

‘Can’t help it, Mythith Allthop,
can’t twitht my tongue
like you.’

I want to thay my etheth.
When will my tongue
be free?
How do you
thay your etheth?
It’th a mythtery to me.

Polly Stretton © 2016

It was tricky to get my tongue around the ‘th’s’ to record, but here it is!



This poem was short listed for the Paragram Poetry Prize in 2013. I was invited to Covent Garden to read both this and the long listed ‘Hobgoblin Trees.’ Tonight I’m posting it for dVerse, where we have Kelly behind the bar. Kelly’s asked us about scents that linger, ‘Latent’ fits the criteria.


Grey, receding,
the fragrance of his shaving gel.
He carries an iPad.

The first thing to leave
is the light of his eyes.
I touch his absence;
a disembodied voice,                  ‘see you later.’

There are magical contortions
made by dust motes,
they swirl in the sunbeams that
pour through the east window,
and echo, ‘later, later.’

I still feel the tweed jacket,
rough against my fingers,
it lingers with his shadow in the room.

Polly Stretton © 2016

(written under the name Polly Robinson © 2013)



Winter Flora

Buxom snowdrops
in a corner
slow to spread.

milk flowers

Polly Stretton © 2016

Galanthus plicatus - big snowdrop

Galanthus plicatus

Galanthus nivalis-small snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis

Two lovely photos of these special harbingers – they don’t look very different in these photos, but the smaller one, nivalis, in real life is much smaller than the plicatus.


Katie Jones

Gayle is our host on Open Link Night at dVerse. She invites poets to ‘to share with us a poem of your choice, on whatever subject you would like.’

Katie Jones

Ah, Katie Jones,
Katie Jones,
I see your eyes
wide with responsibility,
taken on far too soon.

Here you are at fifteen
cleaning the bath,
I see you always
cleaning the bath,
and raking the coals, black dust

thick beneath your fingernails;
washing in a twin-tub, watching the wind,
drying weather, so much to do.
Scrubbing, scouring,
the wire pad

rough beneath
the soft pads of your fingers,
biting into teenage flesh
that could be wielding
a pen at school.

What about your future,
practical Katie Jones?
Your mother,
sick with depression.
Your eyes show

You will not feel sorry,
you will persevere,
for that is what is expected
of you.

But your eyes, oh, your eyes,
Katie Jones,
they are wild,
they tell of a tale


Polly Stretton © 2015


Rock Art

At d’Verse Poetics ‘carved in stone’, Björn is tending the bar. He has given us a series of petroglyphs, carvings found in caves in Sweden.

Tanum Rock Carving: Ship Photo by Björn Rudberg

Tanum Rock Carving: The Sun Ship
Photo by Björn Rudberg

Rock Art

Weather away, feather away
in the acid forests, dissolve,
crumble and fade, disappear
after three thousand five hundred years.

Before you go, let us see once more,
lives lived in harmony,
man is strong, is phallic,
the woman: fertility.

A most important figure,
an icon for what it can do,
the Sun Ship, represents
transport, conquests, food.

Ten thousand ships in Bohuslän
the ship has a finger-like crew
the bulge at the stem, neighing now and again,
is the Sun Horse pulling the sun.

People believed that, in the day
the horse transported the sun,
they wondered how it got back again,
and so the myth was begun.

Our lifestyle destroys cultural heritage,
and all this wonderful work
will disappear in a few decades,
the rock carvings of Tanum.

Polly Robinson © 2015



The second poem, as promised, about the carpet trade in Kidderminster. I was taken by the photo of spools, below, and so this poem was born…

In 2013 I first went to the Kidderminster Museum of Carpet for a poetry workshop with Heather Wastie, who was the poet in residence. Reeking Dyes came out of that workshop.



Cadmium yellow spools
posture in pools
of darkest midnight blue.

A lozenge of orange,
rows of ruby, round and robust.
Over two hundred reds:
threads numbered by hue,
imbued with spirals of tans;
shuttles and bobbins
repeating to plans,
colour eked out from blonde wood.
The scent of wool
filters the air.

Spools in a basket,
a-tisket a-tasket,
weaving a tale of tufts,
echoing warp and weft,
dropping flights of many shades,
spinning a yarn of carpets
created in light,
looming over shade.

Polly Robinson © September 2015


The Museum’s Tale

Following a visit to Kidderminster Museum of Carpet, I felt inspired to write two poems using the language of the carpet trade. I’m posting the first one today and the second one will appear tomorrow. The museum is a wonderful place celebrating, as it does, the history of the carpet trade and its workers. The very first poem, Reeking Dyes, that I wrote after one of Heather Wastie’s workshops in the museum can be seen here.

The Museum’s Tale

In the museum it’s twilight
that time between day and night.
And soon, when all has gone quiet,
a shade begins to alight.
Down the stairs in silence,
no one sees Eliza’s flight,
swift towards the factory floor,
a figure pale and upright.

Ghostly shimmerings glister
on a frame so slender and slight.
She used to shuttle a freestanding loom
when she was a tiny mite.
Her art was handloom weaving,
the cold seeped, that was her plight,
she learned her trade on the job, like them all,
her bones, they ached like spite.

Apprenticed to a weaver,
Eliza feared the dark,
in winter, a candle lit her way,
she was always up with the lark.
Household chores were tended
before she went to her loom,
the fatty scent of tallow
went with her: a rose in bloom.

Now halfway down the staircase,
she beckons as if to invite
her lover to join her on the stairs,
a man so straight and forthright;
Joe had the voice of the workers,
the members who dared to unite.
He was hauled over the carpet,
she on tenterhooks with fright.

Payment reduced for one yard of Brussels,
the workers now on strike,
Joe starved rather than return,
but he returns tonight.
He rejoins his Eliza,
they drift like tufts down the stairs,
they love the museum, the light, the shade,
for telling this tale of theirs.

Polly Robinson © September 2015