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Writings and Witterings


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My Poems

Thought you’d like to know that my poems ‘Bittersweet,’ which made the short list, and ‘Farewell’ and ‘If You Didn’t Get This Message Call Me,’ selected as ‘Paragram Picks,’ will be included in the anthology later in the year. The theme was ‘Paradox’. See more info here: Paragram Poetry Prize. More details as they come through 🙂


7 Comments

Sunset

Evening Sunrise - ebsheehy.wordpress.com

Sunset – with acknowledgement to ebsheehy.wordpress.com

Sunset

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
smoooooth.

Polly Stretton © 2016

 

Galliano-galliano.com

With acknowledgement to galliano.com


57 Comments

Sunlit Still

In response to the sepia photograph prompt at The Mag which was a new find for me in 2012 – now taking a bit of a break – this ekphrastic poem:

Sunlit Still

Captured for
all time
in the silent
shadows.

A sunlit room,
snapshots
in time
in a snapshot of time.

Unlit candles
cast darkness on sills.
A frozen head
observes
time stands still.

It is 10:30.
It remains 10:30.
It will never be other
than 10:30.

Polly Stretton © 2016


11 Comments

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.

 

Chatterton

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.


14 Comments

Lamb

Because it’s spring time…a  Triversen poem

Lambs

Lamb

At the start of spring sunshine
in March, a clamour occurs,
an ignominious din.

She sees the lambs born
on a cool sunny morn, stumble;
bumble, late in the daylight.

The sun rises at four,
red, ruby, gold glows up high
and christens the new-born babes.

It comes round, it goes around,
it returns on this morning
of joy, of hope, of new lives.

Polly Stretton © 2016

Lamb was first published in my debut collection Girl’s Got Rhythm, available from Black Pear Press at £7.00 +P&P


19 Comments

Latent

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.

Latent

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

 


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Hooked On Chatterton

An email from Michael Doble of the Chatterton Society, says that Brian May’s uploaded ‘Thomas Chatterton, Myth of the Doomed Poet’ to YouTube you’ll find a copy / link below.

Michael added:
‘For how long it is on YouTube remains to be seen. Enjoy it whilst you can.
It was good to see Chatterton, the Poet and Writer, shown in a more favourable light.  As it says on our (The Chatterton Society) website ‘Press Release’ page: “History has been unfair to Chatterton…”.

This is wonderful news – now my friends who were unable to see it via BBC can watch and enjoy – many thanks to Michael.


14 Comments

VerseWrights

Good to see one of my poems featured on the VerseWrights website and Facebook page

‘Volunteers’ was inspired by Rodin’s fabulous sculpture in Calais from 1889 – according to Linduff et al[1] it serves as a monument to an occurrence in 1347 during the Hundred Years’ War, when Calais, an important French port on the English Channel, was under siege by the English for over a year. Calais commissioned Rodin to create the sculpture in 1884.

The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin

The Burghers of Calais by Auguste Rodin

[1] Linduff, David G. Wilkins, Bernard Schultz, Katheryn M. (1994). Art past, art present (2nd ed. ed.). Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall. p. 454. ISBN 0-13-062084-X.


34 Comments

Six Foot Four – Sunflower

SunflowerSpirals

Image by lucapost via Flickr

Six Foot Four – Sunflower
What could be
more
outrageous
than
a six foot four
sunflower?
Native
of the Americas.

Perhaps…
10 tonnes of Ai Weiwei’s
famous porcelain sunflower seeds!
10 tonnes,
a tenth of those
covered
Tate Modern’s
Turbine Hall.

The perfect sunshine
yellow, fiery and proud,
stunning spirals
typically loud,
typically
times thirty-four inside,
fifty-five outside,
spirals.

Helianthus annuus
for birds,
for bread, medicine,
dyes, body paints,
sunflower oil,
livestock feed, latex
–yes, latex
six foot four!

Polly Stretton © 2015

To cheer up a miserable and overcast February afternoon, a rewrite of my 2012 poem about sunflowers, surely the most cheery of all 🙂


3 Comments

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:

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for those overseas:

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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


15 Comments

The Wait Poetry Anthology—Poetry For A Cause

My copy of The Wait Poetry Anthology has arrived! I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to see poems from my friends and fave bloggers, Alex Malcolm-Carr and MarinaSofia plus 97 other wonderful poets. ‘Mrs Smithfield’ is rubbing shoulders with some ace poems.

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George Sandifer-Smith has edited this collection of poems and the proceeds go to Cancer Research – a worthwhile cause that I’ve supported in many ways for a long time, as a member of the LitFest team, as an individual, and as a Rotarian. Starting with ‘A Crimson Smile’ by Faisal Al-Doori and moving though to finish with ‘How I know I need a biscuit in the afternoon’ by Katherine Stansfield, these, plus the ones in between, are more than worth a read.

One of my dearest friends is currently seeing oncologists because her cancer has returned. What can I say? I join with the Worcestershire Breast Unit Campaign and others: ‘Everyone knows someone’. We must keep helping and supporting. We just must.

Thank you, George and the team, for this compilation. I understand that an e-book will be available at some point, but for the time being, here is another link with information about how to purchase the book online.

Everyone should have a copy – brilliant poetry for a brilliant cause.


4 Comments

Breaking Free

A poem that uses imagery and metaphor most effectively – enjoy this ace read from Christine.

journeyintopoetry

The trick is to know when,
and for those who truly seek to bloom
their time will come.

There will be an urgency
like a rebirth,
the years of confinement over
and time to take a risk,
to burst through,
break loose from the safety
of the bud and say
Here I am.

This is true discernment,
a risking of good for better
and better for best.
Because a bud will eventually
outgrow its purpose
and if not broken
will droop, hang limp,
a withered head, brittle
and packed tight with
the crushed brown petals
of what could have been.

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Arvon ‘The Story Line’ At The Hurst

A great week in Shropshire focussed on poetry—what a way to spend time. Wonderful surroundings, no internet or service for mobile phones, so a totally ‘cut off’ few days— very restful—and I even got some poems written! Without further ado…the photos by me unless otherwise stated. Click on an image to see larger photos in the gallery:

 


8 Comments

Better Late Than Never—LitFest Photos

My promise to post Worcestershire Literary Festival photos has been on the back-burner as I’ve been a bit busy looking after a friend who broke her ankle while on hols.

Here is a gallery of photos taken at the LitFest 2014—it gives a flavour of the fabulous time we enjoyed 🙂

Click on the images to see them full size.


13 Comments

A Prose Poem: Flower Growing In The Wrong Place

A soothing blue cumulus of cranesbill clusters beneath laurel, the petals grey veined, stretching for the sky under the sagely green canopy. Before such beauty there’s the sweet clingy stuff – the sticky burrs that blight dogs’ coats later in the year – and an empty bed with last year’s faded, crumbling woodchips, the scent lingers still. Look again, the bed is not so empty… a crumpled weed control membrane lurks partly hidden by compost, held down by red brick, butting up to decking. Shining silver, a meshed pit shows off yellow ragwort on which cinnabar moth caterpillars’ chomp.

Polly Stretton © 2014

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars from www.glaucus.org.uk

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars from http://www.glaucus.org.uk