Polly

Writings and Witterings


Leave a comment

Pale Horse

Dead Man's Penny–with thanks to Jean Lee

With thanks to Jean Lee

The Next of Kin Memorial Plaque is a bronze plaque known as the dead man’s penny. They were issued to the next of kin of those who died serving in WWI, nearly a million individuals. 600 plaques were issued to women who died. You will probably recognise the allusion to the Pale Horse and his rider.

Pale Horse

Heels down. Head up. Look
where you’re going.
Go to a place
where you can hear your heart;
listen to the beat,
forget the drub of a thousand pale hooves
and the horsemen of the apocalypse.
We rise and fall together.

Grandma had a penny to remember you,
a bronze memory she Brassoed weekly,
cast in physical prowess, spiritual power,
in devotion to the triumph of good,
Britannia faces left, holds a laurel wreath,
there’s a box beneath, holding your name in raised relief,
and you, a man of miracles.
We rise and fall together.

A circular coin made whole, inscribed:
‘He died for freedom and honour’.
You are a man who has gone,
yet nonetheless lives.
Your Penelope still waits.
Put the littered marshy slew behind you,
put it behind you.
We will start again.

Go to a place
where you can hear your heart;
listen to the beat.
No pale horse snickers,
no harbinger rides quicker,
no more horseshoes, trench fever, heat.
We sleep.
We rise and fall together.

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.

Advertisements


13 Comments

Living Library 2018

What a privilege to be asked by Linda Bromyard, the Librarian at Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College, to be part of the Living Library again this year. Pupils spend ten minutes with authors to find out more about writing and the writing process. They always have interesting questions. After their ten minutes they move on to the next author. For me, it is a chance to talk with the youngsters not only about my own writing, but also about what they like to read, their favourite authors / genres etc. Discussions about Tolkien and Shire Ditch, what sort of fantasy creatures / beings they like best, all answered with such enthusiasm. One of the lads, who claimed not to read, was wonderfully caught out when we got onto David Williams! There were lots of questions about what inspires / how much time is spent writing / when one started writing / what time of day one prefers to write, and so on.  It transpires that there are many young writers of poetry as well as short stories. I feel this bodes well for the future.

Linda herself is an inspiration, the organisation that goes on behind the scenes, the thoughfulness to not only the pupils but also to the authors, such things never go unnoticed. Thank you, Linda.

Here is a photo of me enjoying a giggle with the pupils at the Living Library. We cannot share photos of the youngsters, but I want to thank them for their interest and also for the delightful thank you notes that Linda forwarded to me on their behalf.

PS Living Library 2018.jpg

 


9 Comments

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.


20 Comments

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


25 Comments

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


11 Comments

Echoes

IMG_1045

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


11 Comments

Spring

I like form in poetry and was talking about various poetry forms, at one of the writing groups that I go to, last week. We discussed Huitains, so here’s one of mine, written five years ago (!) a cheery little number.

Spring

Banish the blues with a red touch,
blend them purple for tomorrow,
boys and clinker don’t mean too much
warm debris for the wheelbarrow.
Pigeons perch on the old scarecrow,
who imagines lilacs in spring,
they watch the boy make a furrow
and prepare for life on the wing.

Polly Stretton © 2013