Writings and Witterings


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 the Master 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


Dance With Me?

‘Dance with me?’

When Dad was embarrassed, he whistled,
a tootling flootling whoot;
three notes,
always the same, breath gently pushed
through pursed lips, eyes to heaven.

‘Do you want to dance, Dad?’
and he’d whistle.
‘Let’s waltz.’

As we waltzed his lips
remained pursed, exhaling
whistles silent
but audible, as his breath passed my ears,
his eyes upwards, looking at no one,
hoping no one was looking at him.

‘Dance with me?’

Polly Robinson © 2015


Not Home

Before the face of all he owns
in front of times long gone
aeons of dark and dry bleached bone
behind a veil of song
all around beam rictus grins
while his expression’s stone
and rats gnaw through the black of bins
for all who are alone
he moves forward
in a flickering light
void voices on a phone
caution as his chest cleaves tight
shuffle here
shuffle there
shuffle home

Polly Robinson © 2015



Athenian red-figure lekythos, Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design (http://www.theoi.com/Pontios/Iris.html)
You are a rainbow,
a golden winged messenger,
a dewey fresh faced goddess
refilling rain clouds
with water from the sea.

Speed of the wind,
with your man, Zephyrus,
by your side,
plunge into
the ocean deep,
underworld dark,
unhindered by the caduceus
staff in your left hand.

Sister to the harpies,
bring to Zeus the great oath of the gods.
Iris, with a ewer
of nectar.

Swift footed,
sure, like a storm,
see your sister’s wings
on Achilles’ heels.

Delicate herald of light
in a gossamer gown:
ruby red;
orange organza;
yardbird yellow;
green parakeet;
blue sky blue;
divisive indigo;
virtuous violet,
the realm of the rainbow is yours
always beyond reach.

Polly Robinson 2015


Summer Sun – a triolet

Back in April 2012, following Catherine Crosswell’s first trioletPass the Parcel” I had been meaning to have a bash at one.  An especially hot day during the summer of 2012 seemed the perfect day to write it. It was so hot, too hot to actually do gardening [much as it needed dealing with!] – well, that was my excuse, as if I need one!

So here it is, offered to Grace for dVerse Poets for OpenLinkNight#153

Summer Sun

The summer sun beats down, merciless,
And the birds are exhausted with heat,
Sparrows dust bath, pigeons purr.
The summer sun beats down, merciless,
Up with sunshades, lounge, don’t stir,
A sun lotion Sunday paper treat.
The summer sun beats down, merciless,
And the birds are exhausted with heat.

Polly Robinson © 2012