Writings and Witterings


William’s Footprint

William’s Footprint is a poem about William Dean, who arrived at Croome in about 1796 and was Head Gardener to the 6th and 7th Earls of Coventry for nearly 40 years looking after the walled kitchen garden and the park. He wrote a book about Croome and indexed every plant and tree. This poem was written as part of the Soul-to-Sole project and is shown on the sole of William’s shoe in the shoe rack in the basement.

William’s Footprint

If soles could talk
what tales they’d tell
of statues – alive! –
hot walls and wishing wells;
of a serpentine river
and a man-made lake,
of Quercus ilex
and poison Mandrake.

If soles could talk
what tales they’d tell,
of the walled kitchen garden
and glass cloche bells,
of boys of seven
who stoke the heated wall,
while the dipping pond
is their longed for call.

If soles could talk
what tales they’d tell,
of the Druid and Sabrina’s
trysts in the dell;
of mischievous Pan
piping high and sweet,
the goat-god spies on them
in the grotto where they meet.

If soles could talk
what tales they’d tell,
of the nymphs at Croome
and wooded islands where they dwell.
Here’s head gardener Will
wielding spade and pruning hook;
he is grounded and ready
to write his book.

Polly Stretton © 2014



If you like pictures,
diagrams, charts,
cartoons, then you’re a ‘Visual’.
No, not a visionary,
a ‘Visual’ who says,

‘I see what you mean,’
‘I get the picture,’
and asks ‘What’s your view?’

It’s the way you like to communicate.
The way you might send messages.

‘Auditory’ defines those who prefer voices,
the radio, talking on the phone,
listening to silence,
asking for directions.
No, not voices in your head,
a listener, a story-teller, a poet.

You say ‘That rings a bell,’
‘I hear what you’re saying,’
‘It sounds OK to me.’

If you’re touchy-feely,
a hug ‘n kisser,
‘Kinesthetic’s’ the word.
You like a ‘hands on’ approach…
But no, the ‘Kinesthetic’s’ guided
by texture and touch.

You say ‘That feels right,’
‘How does this grab you?’
‘Let me try.’

Now…let’s figure out
how to send each one
a message.
The message
is ‘Peace.’

Polly Stretton © 2016


A Drama Of Messages

For the UK National Poetry Day 2016 – theme: Messages

A Drama Of Messages

The memoir of a plane in a blue streaked sky,
a hint of an octopus swirls in purple ink,
the downwind stink of a dirty dog fox
covers campfire embers puffing smoke signals,
while beacons burn at birthdays and jubilees,
barbeques cook to eat and enjoy;
burnt bits and gunky grease get gradually cleaned.
Messages: tasted, smelled, heard and seen.

Polly Stretton © 2016


A Quality Dilemma

Quality, quality, quality…
that’s what it’s all about,
you might think it boring,
until your work’s in doubt.

It’s not a cause of jollity
or any slight frivolity,
because in the world of quality
evidence is King.

Showing things done properly
is not a scholarly lottery,
it’s easy, easy-peasy,
so why’s it rarely done?

Polly Stretton © 2016


Hill Walk

The kit he’s got is sparse,
the hill walk is a farce,
he has no fleece,
no sturdy boots,
has not checked the weather,
doesn’t know the route,
we all walk together,
with the new recruits,
experienced walkers
guide the less astute.

And that woman,
Wendy, with pumps,
skinny T-shirt,
goosey goose bumps,
her with the bloke who has no map,
no SatNav, no wit, no mental sap,
she tries her phone
where no signal can reach,
clearly thinks she’s
on the beach.

I have walking boots, fleece and map,
my SatNav, Kendal Cake, haversack,
I’m equipped for whatever occurs
as we walk on up I overhear
him ask the walk leader,
‘How long will we be?’
‘cos his mum’s expecting
him back for tea,
and besides
Wendy’s feet are killing.
There’s reliance on those
who are willing
to carry them up the hill.

Polly Stretton © 2016