Polly

Writings and Witterings


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Finger Lickin’ Hallowe’en

Old-fashioned sweets

Finger Lickin’ Hallowe’en

My favourites came in cubes:
Pineapple, Kola,
and other boiled sweets
like toffee crunch
loose in quarters,
weighed out from glass jars
lining the sweet shop shelves.
Square quarter bags
and two ounce triangular paper cones;
right at the base,
where small fingers could firkle,
there lay the sugar
and slivers of sweets,
a delight on the fingertip,
on the tongue.
A memory so sweet
it makes the mouth water,
has lasted as long
as sherbet fountains
and liquorice sticks,
gob stoppers and bubble gum.
And Hallowe’en
brought cinder toffee
and Blackjacks
to stain your tongue.

Polly Stretton © 2013

Published by Silver Birch Press ‘MY SWEET WORD’ Series: Halloween Edition (2013)

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The Black Bridge—Coeur Noir

Coeur Noir

Shabby pile of bones
under a black bridge.
You were found out;
talked to the hawk,
or a murder of crows.

The shapes in white body suits,
blue overshoes,
said ‘unmistakable odour,’
‘caustic’ was overheard;
forensics disclosed
burned flesh.

Maybe your first,
who found you
in flagrante,
set you up,
or the second, the witness,
incredulous,
who could not bear
to believe.

Selfish, faithless,
you are alone.
The black bridge won’t help,
it mocks;
celebrates bones,
Coeur Noir,
parched bones,
bones never to be grieved,
beneath the bridge.

Polly Stretton © 2018


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Mabel On A Mission

Mabel’s on a mission,
she’s tugging at her lead,
a tiny Yorkshire Terrier,
who has no time to heed
her besotted owner calling her,
saying ‘Come’ or ‘Here,’
she’s on a special mission
and is keen to disappear.

She’s a naughty little pickle,
an invader of my life,
she will not eat her dinner
—that’s caused a bit of strife—
she cocks her head from side to side
when looking for a treat,
and if her walk dares to be late,
she yips and leaps and peeps.

She doesn’t like a shower,
and a bath she likes much less,
she jumps about and drenches me
the wretched little pest.
She goes to training classes,
no, I do not jest,
though, might as well, she thinks it’s swell…
to ignore every test.

Mabel’s on a mission,
each and every day
to get another walk,
and yet another play,
You may have gathered, through this poem,
that Mabel can be wilful,
that melting look to get her way
is truly somewhat skilful.

Now Mabel has a little friend,
Tilly is her name,
She’s driving me around the bend,
well on the way to fame.
‘Let’s go and walk,’ four sparky,
berry bright eyes say,
I cannot disappointment them
so we go out twice a day.

Polly Stretton © 2018

Munchkins–New Year 2018


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An Orchestra Of Orchids

Stand in awe
—look at orchids—
Hampton Court Show shows
orchestras of orchids,
a fanfare of maidenhair fern frames a backdrop
—handbags and gladrags—
vessels to hold plants.

Polly Stretton © 2018

orchids and maidenhair fern http- www.fleuropean.com theres-no-denying-destiny

A beautiful picture of orchids and maidenhair fern – with thanks to: http://www.fleuropean.com/theres-no-denying-destiny/


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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.


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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

 


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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.