Writings and Witterings


An Inevitable Marriage

An update on a poem written in 2012 for Holly and Suz…

An Inevitable Marriage

A snood and a fur stole got talking
at a spoken-word night sublime.
They ended up a-walking out,
a-walking out in time.
Gnashing, snapping, pelt on end,
they came together,
more than friends.
The cuddly snood, a circular friend,
liked a hug, liked to spend
some time around the neck of another,
preferably a passionate lover.

Granny’s fox stole:
sharp evil teeth,
claws on paws,
felt-lined beneath
its spindly legs surround the throat.
The bite, the scratch,
the hug, the cuddle,
the hug, the cuddle,
the bite, the scratch
arrange the marriage,
the perfect match.

Polly Stretton © 2016

Entirely caused by Holly’s snood and Suz’s fur coat 05/04/2012 at Parole Parlate


The Silence of Emptiness

In the silence of my room
I hear a sob
I know it can’t be me
I swore no tears for you.

Yet a curse is no ally
against an empty bed
empty arms
where you once fit

Blinding ache
in the core
serpent bite
of bitter love
no more.

Laughing no more
trying no more
dancing no more
no more.


Polly Stretton © 2016



Evening Sunrise - ebsheehy.wordpress.com

Sunset – with acknowledgement to ebsheehy.wordpress.com


Top of the
evening, sunset:
Spirito Italiano,
golden yellow,
tapering, elegant,
lidded, etched in purple.
Olive leaf quill in
a “‘G’, please Bob”.
Gold rush glory,
voluptuous vanilla
scented by subtle spice,
infused with herbs,
thirty per cent

Polly Stretton © 2016



With acknowledgement to galliano.com


Tip the Windmill

We look after our feet
to keep walking
and our skin
for comfort and looks.
This is a small caution
it is in wellness defined …
think of yourself, for once,
don’t ignore your mind.
The fragile mind,
full of vim and vigour,
deserves our attention too.

By and large
it keeps in good health,
yet a day might dawn
when almost by stealth
it no longer functions
one’s ‘not quite oneself.’
They dole out meds,
maybe something is said
that tilts the balance,
tips the windmill,
turns the head

Polly Stretton © 2016


The Mother

DAE-10371367 - © - De Agostini Picture L

The Death of Chatterton – Henry Wallis 1856 – original painting at The Tate Britain

Thomas Chatterton was only 17 years old when he died, (1752-1770), the original starving poet in a garret. It’s a mystery, still not certain, whether he committed suicide or if it was an accidental death.

Most of us know the pre-Raph painting of Chatterton on his deathbed by Henry Wallis, shown above. I’ve always loved the painting, it’s so beautifully detailed depicting Chatterton’s beauty even in death.

The poem below is just one from the pamphlet I published in 2014: in a series of poems we imagine friends, relatives and others of influence in Chatterton’s life gathered around the foot of his deathbed, remembering and commenting on his life. This poem is from his mother’s point of view.

The pamphlet is an ekphrastic* collection with mention made of each part of the painting, and at the back of the pamphlet there’s a potted history of Chatterton. Available as an eBook, details can be found here.



The Mother

Geranium scents the pale garret
breeze ruffling his hair, his dead hair,
hair I’ve brushed so many times.
My brilliant boy, he lies there still,
blue as his breeches,
blue as the mourning sky.
I will go mad. See his lifeless hand.

‘Ssssuicide,’ whisper shreds of papers.

My dear would not choose to
leave this way.
‘No suicide embrace for me,’ he wrote,
‘A poet’s penance is to live.’
Oh, my boy. My life.
Where was the time to put things right?
My ice blue son.

Polly Stretton © 2014



*poetry about another form of art.


Shakespeare’s Song

Words shamelessly borrowed from Shakespeare…on the 400th anniversary of his death I was challenged by Léa to create a poem from his famous words in celebration of his life.

Shakespeare’s Song

Manilow writes the songs
to make the whole world sing,
but Shakespeare coined the phrases
that make the voices ring:
it’s a foregone conclusion
there’ll be a plague on both your houses
if there’s a sea change
in all corners of the world.
We’ll be as merry as the day is long
come what may,
even at the turning of the tide
for ever and a day.
Good men and true,
will give the Devil his due,
high time we were once more
into the breach, dear friends,
once more.
Out of the jaws of death
we’ll pluck the pound of flesh,
walk the primrose path
and send him packing.
It sets your teeth on edge
when something is rotten in the state of Denmark;
star crossed lovers
are such stuff as dreams are made on.
There’s method in my madness,
aye, thereby hangs a tale,
this is the short and the long of it,
the truth will out.
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers,
we have seen better days,
when sorrows come, they come not single spies,
but in battalions.
The be all and end all,
the crack of doom,
the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
mean that the smallest worm will turn,
being trodden on.
Oh, woe is me,
while you live, tell the truth
and shame the Devil.

Polly Stretton © 2016