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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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.


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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


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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


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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