Polly

Writings and Witterings


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He Sits And Waits

I was privileged to be the first headliner at a new spoken word event in Worcester, ‘Dear Listener’, organised by Charley Barnes. I finished my set with ‘He Sits And Waits‘. When the first version of this poem was written, I was thinking about my father, who had Alzheimer’s. I was particularly thinking about how his final two years of life had been for him.
Whilst ‘He Sits And Waits‘ is about my father’s dying days this poem is not only about capturing a moment, it reflects on our wider concerns.
At the time, I was studying form in poetry and wanted to create a Kyrielle.
It was the most commented upon poem in my entire set. Difficult to perform, this rendering made it ‘worth it’.

He Sits And Waits

He sits and waits, he is hungry.
He ponders what he was thinking,
for a moment, a rare inkling.
Do all things end as they begin?

The hanky from the laundry room,
his daughter, bound to be here soon.
His eyes tear up as he reaches.
Do all things end as they begin?

He ponders what he was thinking,
just one moment ago, sinking…
I am hungry, he thinks, then smiles.
Do all things end as they begin?

He waits, he sits, he is hungry,
food appears, it’s here, it’s too soon,
it’s before him, from where, from whom?
Do all things end as they begin?

He blinks, looks for a fork, a spoon.
He peers beneath the platter, croons,
he sees it, a new full blue moon.
Do all things end as they begin?

But arm does not go where he wants,
and hand will not go where he wants,
when he tells it to grip the spoon.
Do all things end as they begin?

He is hungry, sits with repast,
‘Lord have mercy, I could eat fast,
if only I could grip and grasp.’
Do all things end as they begin?

It smells here, he sniffs and snivels.
‘Help Lord, have mercy,’ he dribbles.
Anytime now—surely—to eat.
Do all things end as they begin?

Wet blue glance just reaches once more,
the white handkerchief laundered for…
who was it? A girl. Girl no more.
Do all things end as they begin?

The spoon, is it where it ought’er?
Something about food, his daughter.
The spoon could be up on the moon.
Do all things end as they begin?

Blue eyes mist up with dismay
,
see the world dimly, far away.
The spoon or the moon or my girl?
Do all things end as they begin?

He sits and waits, he is hungry.
He ponders what he was thinking,
just moments ago, an inkling.
Do all things end as they begin?

Polly Stretton © 2012

First published in ‘Girl’s Got Rhythm’, Black Pear Press, 2012.

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Snow – Anne Milton

How appealing the thought that we might rewrite history 🙂

Snow

If you were here I’d say,
‘Lean on the window sill
with me and see how clean
the world looks.’
And you’d reply,
‘It’s a fresh start.’

On a new page
we would rewrite our story,
leaving out the parts
where voices rise
and anger
spews out words
that can’t be taken back;

then I would never hear
my mean voice say,
‘I hate you,’
or see you crying
as you walk away.

Anne Milton lives on the outskirts of Worcester with a large collection of books and several well-read cats. She is a member of Worcestershire Stanza and enjoys Worcester LitFest Speakeasy.

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Folk Like Us / Winds Of Change

My poem below is an ekphrastic poem based on a painting by Graham Wilson entitled Saturday Morning, you can see some of Graham’s art by clicking here. The poem was written as part of a project for Droitwich Arts Network for their exhibition in the Long Gallery at Hanbury Hall. Currently, I don’t have a decent photo of the painting, but it’s a scene in which, when you first see it, all appears to be full of cheer. The family and their neighbours in a terraced street are all out in their back gardens doing their weekend chores. Like most art there is more to be seen ‘beneath the surface’.

Folk Like Us / Winds Of Change

Open waistcoat, tinted glasses,
fat black moustache;
he’s willing the teddy-boy
to mend the bike.
1950’s Middle England,
post-war, pre-PC; transitions,
pop-music is positioned
to take over the world.

The wind streams fragrant smoke
and waves the washing away…
no sooty sheets today.
Broken fences scatter,
they don’t matter
in a jovial terraced scene;
a typical weekend for folk like us.

Mum, pinnied, scarved, lugs the prop,
her girl holds a basket of clothes aloft.
The dog’s on alert,
and look, there’s Bert
tending his pigeons,
braces crossed,
—Bert never goes out without braces—

The baby hears the wind,
sheets flap, prop scrapes, bike engine stutters,
dog barks, and the boy in the shed
fires his cap-gun. ‘BANG’.
It makes baby jump.
Mum—the one with the red hat–
tucks the blankets closer.
The baby’s wrapped up snug,
as the winds of change blow.

Polly Stretton © 2017


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One Bottle – Six Glasses. – Lesley Quayle

One Bottle – Six Glasses.
 
This row seems more serious – we have decided not to forgive.
I’m down here with the expensive bottle I was saving

for Christmas.  You’re upstairs, in bed, restlessly asleep, a frown
in your dreams.  I pull the cork and pour myself a full glass,

red as an open heart.  Those things we said, we meant – when hurt
we strike out like snarling strangers then crumble into remorse.

It’s commonplace. This time – another glass of wine – we didn’t
make things right,  bumped away from each other, bruised, sad,

your eyes rejecting mine like an awkward stranger.  A refill.  My pain
rearranges itself into rage.  I scavenge your selfish bones, pick your

arguments bare.  Guilt settles on me like a bad debt.  Reach for the
bottle, fill up the glass.  There’s a chasm between us, the rift grows wider

by the hour…

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Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe invites YOU to the launch of this year’s Young Writer Anthology!

Always good to hear the young writers read their work.

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

YW Launch 17

Hardly a week goes by without something exciting happening here at Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe, and this weekend we’re delighted to be launching this year’s Young Writer Anthology, published by Worcester’s own Black Pear Press.

The event will take place this weekend (November 19th) at Titania, Security House, in Worcester. Doors will open at 3:30pm for a 4:00pm start, and the event itself will be made up of readings from the anthology. This is a wonderful opportunity to hear a new wave of writing voices, picked from our very own county – AND you can grab yourselves a copy of the anthology while you’re there.

Excellent readings, light refreshments, and an afternoon of stellar entertainment to break up a gloomy November weekend; this is definitely one for the calendar!

For further information about the launch, or any other LitFest and Fringe events, please email Charley at: secretary@worcslitfest.co.uk.

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Jet – Claire Walker

Jet – an extraordinary stone – and an extraordinary poem from Claire.

Foxglove Journal

So much mourning.

We brooch it over our hearts,

wear it tight around throats.

 

We fold into our rosaries,

each bead a black prayer

shovelled through aching fingers.

 

This type of coal smokes

around our wrists,

forges itself into chains.

 

We have mined so long

even gemstones grow brittle

against our grief. It splits,

cracks like bark in a blaze.

12718029_871924849596518_4897711566017020968_n (1)Claire Walker’s poetry has been published in magazines, anthologies and webzines including The Interpreter’s House, Prole, Ink Sweat and Tears, The Poetry Shed, and The Chronicles of Eve. She is a Reader for Three Drops Press, and Co-Editor of Atrium poetry webzine. Her first pamphlet – The Girl Who Grew Into a Crocodile – was published by V. Press in 2015, and a second – Somewhere Between Rose and Black – will follow in December 2017.

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Bones Under A Bridge

Tiny pile of bones
under a bridge
you were found out;
talked to the hawk,
or a murder of crows.

Maybe your first love,
the one that found you
in flagrante
set you up,
or the second, the witness,
who heard your infidelity.

Selfish and faithless, you will be alone.
The bridge won’t help.
We celebrate
bones ‘neath the bridge.
You were fond of saying,

‘No one cares.’

Polly Stretton © 2017