Polly

Writings and Witterings


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Nina’s WPL Blog – August 2017

Our Poet Laureate’s been busy!

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

Worcestershire Poet Laureate News and Reviews

I am delighted to be Worcestershire Poet Laureate 2017/18. I cannot believe that two months have passed already. There are lots of plans in the making and several current opportunities you can take advantage of.

1

Submissions

Submissions are now open for poems about Worcestershire. Send 1-3 previously unpublished poems in the body of an email to worcspl@gmail.combefore the 31st August.

2

I am producing several digital magazines during my tenure and work for this latest call out will appear in Contour in the Autumn, a free online magazine.

I am also looking for artwork/photographs for this issue.

Workshop

Tickets are on sale for a workshop I am delivering on Monday 18th September at Jinney Ring Craft Centre, Hanbury. We are using the Sculpture Trail as initial inspiration. Tickets include free cake and tea/coffee, a marquee for the workshop and a tour of…

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Two Companion Poems

These are two of the poems that I wrote for Mike Alma’s poetry anthology Voices of 1919 published in 2016. There is a special performance of Voices of 1919 poetry by distinguished local actors on National Poetry Day, Thursday 28th September, at Elmsleigh Hall, Elmslie House, 8 Avenue Road, Great Malvern WR14 3AG–7pm until 9pm plus an interval

Bells Toll

Eliza Ruscoe at number thirteen
cocks her head, hears the bells toll,
she can tell the time by this and John,
husband, signalman, will be home soon,
carrying the metallic whiff of Brasso-clean levers
and fusty yellow dusters, faintly grey.
She serves stew, high in vegetables,
war-grown in the garden
where hens peck;
it used to be full of flowers,
now all chicken shit and veg.
She thinks of her boys
and their hollow legs,
smiles,
looks forward to filling them up again,
thanks to an absence of telegrams.

Polly Stretton © 2016
First published in Voices of 1919 (2016)

John – the Signalman

He uses the yellow dusters
with the red, blanket-stitched edges
to shine the upright levers,
covering confusion and fear.
He was brought up with a stiff upper lip;
a trembling mouth was a sign of weakness.
He shows no worries for his two boys,
or ecstasy on their return,
though he feels it deep inside.
Deep down inside his joy
sits, welling up,
and his chest lifts,
a picture of pride in his sons.
His well-ordered existence
for once made a pleasure,
for they are coming home.
Coming home.

Polly Stretton © 2016
First published in Voices of 1919 (2016)

Front cover - Voices of 1919