Writings and Witterings


Boxing Hare

On a bleak November day, here’s an Englyn–a Welsh poetry form–from my very first collection of poetry Girls Got Rhythm to remind us that spring will come along soon…😄

Boxing, racy, hatted hare, mad in March,
much startled air. Take care!
Long ears and nostrils full flare,
strong limbs, swift, free, outrun scare.

Polly Stretton © (Girl's Got Rhythm, Black Pear Press, 2012)

Raku Hare PS

Just to clarify, for the purists out there, this is an Englyn unodl union. The straight one-rhymed englyn. This englyn form (there are at least eight different versions) consists of four lines of ten, six, seven and seven syllables. The seventh, eighth or ninth syllable of the first line introduces the rhyme and this is repeated on the last syllable of the other three lines. The last syllable of the first line is rhymed with a syllable early in the second.



First Love


The piano is in need of tuning
so it can be played in key
music is my first love
rock opera symphony

I love music sheets tucked inside the seat
of piano stool beneath
music soft music loud music beautiful
uplifting and complete

Dissonance: off key
jangles discord—clang clang
the music chaotic bitter sharp
air disturbed—bang bang

Black keys and white keys
wait proud and still
for the piano tuner’s lever
(here he comes up the hill)

He plays sotto voce
presto forte staccato allegro
adagio tosto tutti vivace
tenerezza eco o o o o oh

A tonic in tune once more
affettuoso read the score
pianissimo dolcissimo
come play me piano implores

Published in Girl’s Got Rhythm by Black Pear Press 2012 and reprinted 2016. Reposted for Poetics – Under the Influence of Music, a prompt from Anthony Desmond, 2014, at dversepoets.

Sotto voce: in an undertone
Presto: very fast
Forte: loud; strong
Staccato: brief; detached
Allegro: fast
Adagio: slowly
Tosto: swift; rapid
all; everyone
Vivace: lively
Tenerezza: tenderly
Eco: echo; an effect in which a group of notes is repeated


not sorry yet

Some of the children attending the Living Library at a local school asked me for my favourite poem. I asked ‘by another poet, or my own?’ They wanted to know about my own.
not sorry yet holds a special place in my heart, so I’m sharing it again today to celebrate children who not only ask interesting questions but read poetry as well as fiction. Also to thank Librarian Linda Bromyard for organising the event.
And, btw (thanks for asking!) my favourite poem by another poet is A Subaltern’s Love Song by John Betjeman 🙂

Meadow Run Away

four-year-old legs pumping running away
ma shouts after me ‘come back’ sister wails
ma is livid i pushed the bowl downstairs
this is how she sees it it is my fault
a tall ten-pint goldfish bowl three goldfish
i run down the meadow behind our house
it is hay-making time yellow grass scent
and dust tickle my nose and make me sneeze
sneeze stops me for long enough she catches
me i have glanced behind in my run and
seen her struggling with my little sister
but ma is grim-faced and determined that
i will be caught and punished it was an
accident i tripped knocked into the bowl
which bounced down each stair fish flying water
arcing the finest mirrored droplets splash
the sound of breaking glass tinkles downwards
she comes out of the kitchen babe on hip
and roars ‘nooooo’ i flee out the open door
my legs pump i feel my heart i hear my
breath coming jagged i smell the hay i
sneeze she catches me she screams thrashes me
and at each step thrashes me again all
up the meadow back into the house she
is crying hot angry tears me howling
mortified indignant rebellious
an accident i sob my jaw jutting
i am but four-years-old not sorry yet

Polly Stretton © 2012

not sorry yet was first published in my debut collection Girl’s Got Rhythm, available from Black Pear Press at £7.00 +P&P


Have You Got Yours Yet?

Last minute gifts? Girl’s Got Rhythm is available direct from Black Pear Press, get yours via PayPal, if you’re in the UK:


for those overseas:


Chatterton is available only as an eBook, click here. The first edition was limited to 50 copies…and they’re sold out—but watch this space, a second edition may be published one day.


GGR BPP Front Cover - StrettonChatterton Front Cover–Stretton


Latest Edition—Girl’s Got Rhythm

GGR BPP Front Cover - Stretton

The latest edition of my collection of poems Girl’s Got Rhythm is out. It has a gorgeous new cover, thank you Black Pear Press, and a different layout.

It was delightful to be given the opportunity to update Girl’s Got Rhythm, a collection of my poems first published 2012. Like many poets, as I read and re-read my work I can’t resist tinkering to improve them – it’s not often that I’d be bold enough to call a poem ‘finished’ – though as some will recognise, lots of them are finished as they form on the page.

I hope you enjoy reading my collection – it was wonderful when the first edition was published, and I’ve loved creating this revision.

It’s available here. See links below.

UK postage:btn_buynowCC_LGNon-UK postage: btn_buynowCC_LG

eBook UK

eBook non-UK



Get Unique Christmas Gifts Here

It’s wintertime, nearly Christmas, and time to remind you of my first two books—they make great presents.

If you’ve already bought them, thank you very much.

If you’d like a signed paperback copy, you can email me at and send me the message you’d like me to write inside (if you’d like one!) Don’t forget to tell me where you live so that I can work out what the postage will come to – generally, it’s around £2 in UK. GGR is £7 per copy and Six Small Beasties is £2 per copy.

Girl’s Got Rhythm and Six Small Beasties are also available via Amazon UK. Outside of the UK they’re available via Girl’s Got Rhythm and Six Small Beasties.

Wishing you peace and joy at Christmas. Enjoy yourselves 🙂

GGR BPP Front Cover - Stretton

SSBAAL Front Cover - Stretton


Girl’s Got Rhythm

Girl’s Got Rhythm—a lovely gift 🙂

Find your favourite poems in this, my first poetry collection. Six-foot-four Sunflower, Mother of Pearl, He Drinks Blood—something for everyone.

Available on Kindle—and on the Black Pear Press website.

GGR BPP Front Cover - Stretton



Here is a poem especially written and performed for my book launch of Girl’s Got Rhythm by Catherine Crosswell—it raised many a smile 🙂


By Catherine Crosswell

Miss Polly
had a dolly
with a lolly
and a brolly
she did walk her border collie
with best friends Molly and Holly.
They did find a wayward trolley
and by golly it was jolly
so they decided all to climb inside
there were no brakes to end their folly
and after a kerb to kerb volley
all sadly ended up in a ditch
feeling oh so melancholy
But mainly massive Wallies.

Catherine Crosswell © 2012


The Temporary Book-seller

Mike Alma did a sterling job selling Girl’s Got Rhythm and recorded the experience in a poem 🙂

The Temporary Book-seller

A poem by Mike Alma

“How much, guv’?”

“A fiver to you, bruv’,
And you, sister?”

“Go on, make it four, mister.”

“I can’t do that, chick …
Well, maybe, if you kiss me quick.”

“I won’t do that, you stupid perve –
Don’t know how you’ve got the nerve.”

“Me neither – never mind –
Just a thought, if you’d be so kind.”

“My hubby, ‘ere, is eight foot eight,
So I think you must anticipate
An exit through that closed door, there …”

“Do you think that threat is really fair?”

“Fair or not, that’s what you’ll get,
And I can’t see no safety net!”

“’Ere I go, I’m on my way –
Flying now – no time to pray
For redemption, less it comes real quick,
‘Cause I’m trav’lin’ at a fair old lick.”

Crash, bang, wallop – stars above –
“How ‘bout two pound fifty, luv?”

N.B. Must be read in a North London accent – essential to properly comprehend the nuances present in the spoken word associated with certain areas of Ponders End, Enfield Wash and Brimsdown (Brims-daaahn) – no, not cockney … not even Dick Van (‘ello guv’na’) Dyke.


Launch Day! There It Was…Gone!

It’s launch day! At least, it was when I first put this post up! Now it’s been and gone and we had a great time, there was a cake with the book cover (marvellous) and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves.  Many, many thanks to everyone who performed and to all my guests—it really was a special night.

So, for those of you who don’t know what this is all about, Girl’s Got Rhythm, my debut poetry collection, is available on Kindle and from Black Pear Press 🙂

GGR BPP Front Cover - Stretton

The cake!


Girl’s Got Rhythm—Book Launch

Microsoft Word - Girl's Got Rhythm book launch v2.docx

You are cordially invited to the launch of my first book of poetry Girl’s Got Rhythm which will be published Wednesday 24 October 2012.

Andrew Owens has kindly organised a launch event ‘on the day’ and will host an evening at Drummonds, The Swan with Two Nicks, 28 New Street, Worcester WR1 2DP, 18:30 for a 19:00 start.  There will be performances by: Worcestershire Poet Laureate Maggie Doyle, Suz Winspear, Catherine Crosswell, Lindsay Stanberry-Flynn, Holly Magill, Spoz, Amy Rainbow and Andrew Owens and I’ll be reading from Girl’s Got Rhythm – requests will be welcome.

Do let me know if you can join us for a glass of wine, light refreshments and lots of entertainment – it’s stacking up to be a great night 🙂


GGR BPP Front Cover - Stretton