Polly

Writings and Witterings


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Letter Writing In The Moonlight

Beneath the apple tree
all is still.
Night, as dark as her lover,
veils the lush grass;
bramble and thistle
scratch, inscribe the ground.

A mist hovers,
loathe to leave the river,
low down in the depths of the garden
where mud oozes
and the odour of damp
settles.

The bench is warm,
as graffitied as her heart.
Love holds her
like the mist—all pervasive—
toads and crickets mock,
‘Write’.

A moonbeam strikes
through cloud.
Clouds steal onwards
and soon the lawn
is shown in a puddle of silver light.
She puts pen to paper.

Polly Stretton © 2018

Written for and first published in the Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis’s project: A Tale Of Two Cities, Contour eZine issue 3   With thanks to my collaborator, Beth Sweeney, who responded with a poem of her own, which you can see in the publication.

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A Tale of Two Cities Special Edition Contour WPL Magazine Issue 3

Worcestershire Poet Laureate Nina Lewis’s third issue of Contour is her biggest project during her laureate year. A collaboration of poets in Worcester USA and Worcester UK in the form of call and response. A wonderful result and I am proud to be one of the poets. 🙂

The following link will take you to the publication: https://issuu.com/ninalewis3/docs/special_edition_contour_atotc_issue

Poet Laureate

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Proudly presenting the

Special Edition

Transatlantic Poetry Project

‘ATOTC’ – A Tale of Two Cities

Contour WPL Magazine Issue 3. 

Click full screen or read on issuu if easier. 

The magazine can be read online, you cannot download, but you can share across social media using the share buttons. 

It is more than double the length of a standard issue, so I do not suggest you attempt it in one sitting. I know often people dip in, read their own pages. I encourage you to spend a week or so reading the entire project because the poetry and responses are amazing. 

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The Tale of A Tale of Two Cities

June

I had the idea before I was appointed Worcestershire Poet Laureate to try an International Project, at the interview they asked unexpected questions and one was about Legacy, so after promising something International, it was…

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‘I am John Clare’ – A revealing and outstanding performance!

Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe

In a collaborative event between Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe and Evesham Festival of Words, the peasant poet John Clare was revived for one night only in the Almonry Museum, Evesham, last Thursday.

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Written by Stephen Loveless and performed on the stage by Robin Hillman, the evening promised to be a feast of poetic brilliance and historical wonder.

Now Worcestershire LitFest and Fringe Committee Member, Daniel Burton, shares his thoughts with us on what was undoubtedly an informative and emotional evening.

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8th March 1860. John Clare, peasant poet and the son of a farm labourer, has been committed to the General Lunatic Asylum in Northampton after years of ‘poetic prosing’, confused and unsure about his identity.

3rd May 2018. Robin Hillman brings Clare back to life for a 21st century audience with a thought-provoking performance as the peasant poet himself. Evesham’s Almonry Museum provided the perfect stage to welcome Clare to…

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No Creosote

In the potting shed
the scent of ancient creosote
wafts in heavy summer heat.
Years of grandpa, pipe in mouth,
leaning against the wall
as grandma wielded the black
brush and yelled,

‘Get back you
kids,’ followed by her gap-tooth grin.

She lives in the still-
standing walls…
no creosote now.

Polly Stretton © 2018

First published on this blog in 2014, this is a revised version – last week’s heat put me in mind of it.

Potting shed


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Poetry Stew

A little bit of Ars Poetica 🙂 First published on this website in 2012, lightly edited today.

Walt Whitman's use of free verse became apprec...

Walt Whitman’s use of free verse became appreciated by composers seeking a more fluid approach to setting text. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Poetry Stew

A little bit of this
and a little bit of that,
all mixed together in a poetry hat,
pull out nubile wordles
bash them all around,
organise the way they look,
smell and sound.
Stir ‘em into shape,
shake ‘em through and through,
let them have their say,
they’ll tell you what to do.
When the stew is finished,
finalised and done
then make some bread to go with it,
knead it just for fun.
Bread has connotations, solid,
formed it rises,
if the yeast is left out
there are no surprises.
Method is important
from limerick to sonnet,
free verse gives to poetry
yeast
to place upon it.

Polly Stretton © 2018

Not so Idle Women

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Worcestershire Poet Laureate catches up with former Worcestershire Poet Laureate!

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On Saturday night I finally managed to catch the Idle Women Tour, this is a project Heather Wastie has worked on since 2016, I missed the 2017 performances and have been meaning to catch a show ever since!

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The show gained financial support from Arts Council England, which enabled the employment of a Tour Manager, Zoe Hunn and Director, Milla Jackson.

Last Autumn Idle Women featured on BBC Country File, which aired November 12th as part of Remembrance programming.

https://alarumtheatre.co.uk/broadcast/bbc-countryfile/

The Spring Tour started last week with a performance at The Chestnut Inn,  Worcester on Tuesday 3rd April.

idle women chestnut inn© 2018 – Alarum Theatre

I knew the basic content of the show and have been aware of Heather’s work and some of the poetry. I purposefully didn’t look into the Double Bill and had no idea what to expect from Kate Saffin (other than half the show).

Photographs taken in the first week of the…

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Echoes

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With acknowledgement to Alan Nicholls

In the present, from the past,
a voice that echoes,
a saying that lasts,
even when the body has gone,
what was said will linger on.
‘My mum used to say…’
‘My grannie too…’
‘My dad would have something to say to you.’
In the present, from the past,
a voice that echoes,
echoes that last.

Polly Stretton © 2016