Writings and Witterings


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 Girl In The Chair And Her Protégé

She’d cupped a small bird in her hand,
born this year, feathers silky soft,
she encouraged flight, held it aloft,
so warm, so weak, it trembled.

She wheeled her chair along smooth garden ways,
a feather dropped, wafted soft.
The bird stayed in the hayloft.

Quietude, rest and warmth worked their magic,
the creature stilled, silently calm,
the scented hay seemed to act as a balm.

The gentle gauche girl returned the next day,
no drama, the bird had flown away.
The girl in the chair and her protégé.

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


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