Polly

Writings and Witterings


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Lamb

My favourite springtime poem, published in Girl’s Got Rhythm: Lamb

Lamb

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

She sees the lambs born
on a cool summer 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 © 2012

For those interested in form in poetry, this is a Triversen which is described as:

The rhythm of normal speech, employing 1 to 4 strong stresses per line.

Stanzaic  Written in any number of tercets. Each tercet is one sentence, a kind of natural breath.

Grammatical  There should be 3 lines. L1 is a statement of fact or observation, L2 and L3 should set the tone, imply a condition or associated idea, or carry a metaphor for the original statement.

Alliteration contributes to stress.

Other ‘rules’ found on the internet:

Triversen:

Each stanza equals one sentence.

Each sentence/stanza breaks into 3 lines (each line is a separate phrase in the sentence).

There is a variable foot of 2-4 beats per line.

The poem as a whole should add up to 18 lines (or 6 stanzas). As you’ll see, I did not heed this rule, the poem seemed complete to me after just 4 stanzas 🙂

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The Poacher And The Hare


A witch astride her besom
is flying wide and high,
her cape flaps all about her
as she travels through the sky.
Her hair is black as coal dust,
she peers through one good eye,
as people far below her
look up, stupefied.

The final day of February,
beneath a wintery sky,
we find the local poacher
catching rabbits on the fly.
He is no big brave soldier
just needs some food to eat
before the world gets colder,
a stew will be a treat.

The witch sees him beneath her,
his gun slung o’er his arm,
she takes her eye out, polishes,
puts it back, still warm.
With clarity of vision
she sees a running hare
close enough for him to shoot,
she shouts out, ‘Run! Beware!’

The poacher takes exception
‘My supper’ he exclaims,
‘You’ve done me out of meat tonight,
‘for shame, old witch, for shame.’
‘Don’t you shame me, soldier,’
the witch forthright declaims,
‘That hare is running wild and free
’tis you should feel the shame.’

Polly Stretton © 2019



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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.