Writings and Witterings



Ulysses and the Sirens_Herbert James Draper

Ulysses and the Sirens – Herbert James Draper           c. 1909


Lashed to the mast
of a ship,
he wouldn’t do the wrong thing.
Lilting, seductive, the sirens
would not induce him,
would not lure him
to the rocks.

He knew
that willpower can be used up.
Instant gratification,
long-term reward,
curbed emotions reduce physical strength.
Like a tank of petrol,
willpower can run out.

Polly Stretton © 2016


Blacker Than The Night

It started as an April Fool joke on Facebook when Tony Judge said ‘There has to be a poem in this somewhere (happened near Croome Court)’ and attached an article about a big cat on the prowl, terrifying local residents.

Funny what can inspire a poem, ‘eh? 😀

Big Cat

Blacker Than The Night

Big , shadowy, stealthy,
scary to the locals;
with lowered head it stalks,
eyes green in headlights.
A predator, prepared to attack.
It’s the size of a Rottweiler;
the biggest of big cats.
‘No firm evidence’ has come to light:
no photograph, no video,
no flowers, no chocolates.
‘This is the trouble,’
a police spokesperson said.
A leopard? A jaguar? A panther?
From the circus?
Safari park?
Croome Court?
The law said
they might have known,
had that been the case.

Polly Stretton © 2016



Move away from the waste paper bin.
Move away from the waste paper bin.
Little dogs mustn’t go in the waste paper bin.
Little dogs mustn’t go in the waste paper bin.
I know it’s fun, all that crinkly paper.
I know it’s fun, all that crinkly paper.
Move away from the waste paper bin.
Repetition becomes tedious.
I am patient.
I am patient.

Polly Stretton © 2016

Mabel Passport size photo


Lithping Around The Myths


My assurances that no small children were hurt or otherwise affected in the making of this poem (!) The theme at 42 Worcester in January was ‘Around The Myths In Eighty Words’ – sometimes you have to go with what’s in your head…

I posted to dVerse OpenLinkNight, why not give it a go? I’m wondering whether the humour is trans-Atlantic — gong by previous comments it is — hope so 🙂

Lithping Around The Myths

There wath Myth Thmith
at Primary Thchool,
Myth Bigger
featured large;
Mythter Thampthon,
Head Teacher;
Mythith Allthop,
she took charge.

‘Stop Lisping,’ she admonished,
‘Speak properly,
as I do’

‘Can’t help it, Mythith Allthop,
can’t twitht my tongue
like you.’

I want to thay my etheth.
When will my tongue
be free?
How do you
thay your etheth?
It’th a mythtery to me.

Polly Stretton © 2016

It was tricky to get my tongue around the ‘th’s’ to record, but here it is!



This poem was short listed for the Paragram Poetry Prize in 2013. I was invited to Covent Garden to read both this and the long listed ‘Hobgoblin Trees.’ Tonight I’m posting it for dVerse, where we have Kelly behind the bar. Kelly’s asked us about scents that linger, ‘Latent’ fits the criteria.


Grey, receding,
the fragrance of his shaving gel.
He carries an iPad.

The first thing to leave
is the light of his eyes.
I touch his absence;
a disembodied voice,                  ‘see you later.’

There are magical contortions
made by dust motes,
they swirl in the sunbeams that
pour through the east window,
and echo, ‘later, later.’

I still feel the tweed jacket,
rough against my fingers,
it lingers with his shadow in the room.

Polly Stretton © 2016



Winter Flora

Buxom snowdrops
in a corner
slow to spread.

milk flowers

Polly Stretton © 2016

Galanthus plicatus - big snowdrop

Galanthus plicatus

Galanthus nivalis-small snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis

Two lovely photos of these special harbingers – they don’t look very different in these photos, but the smaller one, nivalis, in real life is much smaller than the plicatus.


Katie Jones

Gayle is our host on Open Link Night at dVerse. She invites poets to ‘to share with us a poem of your choice, on whatever subject you would like.’

Katie Jones

Ah, Katie Jones,
Katie Jones,
I see your eyes
wide with responsibility,
taken on far too soon.

Here you are at fifteen
cleaning the bath,
I see you always
cleaning the bath,
and raking the coals, black dust

thick beneath your fingernails;
washing in a twin-tub, watching the wind,
drying weather, so much to do.
Scrubbing, scouring,
the wire pad

rough beneath
the soft pads of your fingers,
biting into teenage flesh
that could be wielding
a pen at school.

What about your future,
practical Katie Jones?
Your mother,
sick with depression.
Your eyes show

You will not feel sorry,
you will persevere,
for that is what is expected
of you.

But your eyes, oh, your eyes,
Katie Jones,
they are wild,
they tell of a tale


Polly Stretton © 2015