Polly

Writings and Witterings


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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! The Paper Maker appears in the post before this one :) But without further ado…the photos, by me unless otherwise stated. Click on an image to see larger photos in the gallery:

 


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Here I Am…

…did you miss me? ;)

I’ve been away at The Hurst, on a wonderful Arvon course with ace poet Holly Magill. We had a fab time with tutors Patience Agbabi and Luke Kennard, and guest poet Katrina Naomi.
Here is a poem that came out of one of the sessions during which we discussed characters in poetry :)

The Paper Maker

Left, right, left, right,
quick march,
reams of paper,
white and starched.
Order restored,
all in place,
a gross for Mr Johnson
at the Poetry Place.

My name’s Charley,
Charley Waite,
‘course, they call me
Paper Waite,
the bloody kids
who want a job,
all through the summer.

They should be like me,
left school at fifteen,
did me no harm as you can see.
Stopping conscription
in nineteen sixty:
the worst thing that happened
for our kids.

Little shits,
graffiti-ing the mill.
I’ll give ‘em ‘summer job,’
they’ll get bugger all.
They can scrub
and clean
‘til those bricks
are pristine,
again.

Left, right, left, right,
quick march,
reams of paper,
white and starched.
Order restored,
all in place,
a gross for Miss Chard
at the Post Office.

Polly Robinson © 2014

…and here are some marvellous photos courtesy of Richard Stephenson, all having a great time – click on the images to enlarge :)

Arvon poets at The Hurst 2014 - by Richard Stephenson

Arvon poets at The Hurst 2014 – by Richard Stephenson

Fun on the final night - by Richard Stephenson

Fun on the final night – by Richard Stephenson

 


18 Comments

Smoking Bastille

14th July – it’s Bastille Day. The perfect excuse – should you need one – to celebrate!

Smoking Bastille

The enlightened Voltaire
would have feasted, during
the storming of the Bastille,
he said, ‘Let us read…let us dance…’
Imprisoned twice,
he would delight,
eyes bright,
in the fall
of the smoking Bastille.
‘Storm the Bastille. Revolt!’

Fast forward to…
Gauloises Disque Bleu,
elegant,
cool,
sophisticated,
show-off smoking.
Gauloises Disque Bleu.
Prisoners of nicotine
storm their way through…
Revolt!

Echo Voltaire
in the Bastille,
Bruce Willis
in Die Hard.
Revolt!
Alain* so hooked
he enjoyed chemo
smoking Gauloises Disque Bleu.
Smoking Bastille.
Candid clouds of change.

Polly Robinson © 2014

 

The video is *Alain Bashung with the Pogues. Bashung is a famous French singer who was such a fan of Gauloises Disque Bleu, it’s said he refused to quit even during his chemotherapy.


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 should give you a flavour of the fabulous time we enjoyed :)

Click on the images to see them full size.


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Tonight! A Perigee Moon

Perigee Moon

Fulsome, blowsy
supermoon,
closer to earth,
closer to man,
fuller and fatter
than the seas.
See her grave face
through the lens
of perigee,
think of the aeons
of this moon
and gravity
pulling higher tides,
the aim: diversity,
as the community
makes moon water.

Polly Robinson © 2014

With acknowledgement to: http://beforeitsnews.com

With acknowledgement to: http://beforeitsnews.com


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Worcester’s Spider Bridge

A bridge revisited…

Worcester’s Spider Bridge

Summer walking, Worcester bridge,
we see a sight that makes us twitch.
Others stop and stand and stare
at spiders dancing. We’re not scared,
as they spin webs to catch insects
we watch and wonder, pay respects.

Hundreds, thousands, what a show,
our amazement grows and grows,
they cluster, muster round the lamps
busy making spider camps
on lights and pillars of river bridge
lined by trapped moth, fly and midge.

And big fat spiders.

We’ve never seen the like before,
not on hedge, hill, path or shore,
Did Charles see them when he was here?
Or Elgar get inspired by fear
of creepy critters spinning pretty
silvery webs in our city?

They not all fat, some are tiny
with stripy legs, they all look grimy;
weaving, weaving through the day.
We continue on our way
with photos for the memory.

Polly Robinson © 2014

Click on the images to see them full size :)


26 Comments

At The Well

Hylas and the Water Nymphs (Naiads), J. W. Waterhouse

Hylas and the Water Nymphs (Naiads), J. W. Waterhouse

Water nymphs we find at fountains,
bearded gods look down from mountains,
tales are told by ploughmen, townsmen,
cowmen talk of the stolen boy;
the gorgeous gilded golden boy,
at the well.

Roman naiads, water sprites,
approach the sleeping Hylas,
son of Heracles.
Nymph-like tresses fine as a frieze,
flow like water to the well,
they comb and primp to no avail,
we hear them cry, again they fail
and no waves swell.

They see the boy and speculate,
his crowning glory seals his fate.
He’s grasped by nymphs desirous,
made breathless by his shyness,
at the brightness
of the well.

The water sprites soliloquise:
‘What beauty in his hair and eyes.’
Entranced, they see and glorify
his unusual swirling curls.
Hylas falls fast in love,
at the well.

Heracles sought his special boy, or so the townsmen tell;
missed him, search after fruitless search, up hill, in dale and dell,
while the boy shares naiad power in the joy of love’s sweet spell,
the gods come down from the mountain
draw fresh cool water at the fountain,
at the well.

Polly Robinson © 2014


18 Comments

Amazing Haze

Shimmering, shivering, a fast-flowing river
of seedheads shine silver, purple;
the breeze blows hither and thither,
on seeds like souls who think they’ll go through purgatory
travelling from life to heaven or hell.
Be good, be extraordinary.

Polly Robinson © 2014

By uphilldowndale.wordpress.com

By uphilldowndale.wordpress.com


23 Comments

Mañana Seaside Days

An Anaphoric and Ekphrastic poem – painting by contemporary impressionist artist Leslie Stones.

 

Searching the Rock Pools Leslie Stones (www.lesliestones.co.uk)

Searching the Rock Pools Leslie Stones (www.lesliestones.co.uk)

Mañana Seaside Days

Seaside siblings and a crèche of cousins,
deckchair damsels dashing hopes of dozens,
countless crabby tickled toes a’paddling,

rock pools – splash! – soft sands in sunlight dazzling.
Scabby shins sprawl sandily, stickily,
toes touch, tease towel tents, torment trickily,

lulling listening, laughs linger lacily,
sunshine shimmers on sunhats racily,
gulls’ wings sigh while seashells gleam and glitter.

Seaside sunny days, hot, sparkling sitters.
Slosh, slosh shallows; shush shushing shingle hosts
mañana seaside days at Cornish coast.

 

Polly Robinson © 2012

Published in Girl’s Got Rhythm 2012 and 2014


13 Comments

Midsummer Solstice

by Io Osborn

by Io Osborn

She is Thalia, reads to Gaia, gestures,
rests on rock in sun on the windborne scent
of wild thyme, her shadow caught by Io.
Crags millions of years old
age around a smooth edged cave
carved out by man.
There was once a hawthorn tree called
‘Wishing Tree’ where the children danced
as a hermit bathed in a well to cure
his sore eyes.
A ravine, against the roots of an old
crabapple, holds a huge block of syenite,
said to be a site of rites.
All this she knows as she reads of swifts
swooping and dancing, sees eyes close
romancing and glancing at words
to celebrate the place in which they stay.
It’s midsummer – summer solstice.

Polly Robinson © 2013

This poem celebrates the solstice and was written following the Malvern Hills Midsummer Walk last year. This year we had a fabulous Midnight Moonlight Solstice Walk. In good company, we heard what we think were probably tawny owlets calling, saw glow worms, saw stars and were advised on the constellations by an expert in our midst (!) welcomed the solstice, drank wine, heard poetry and had a lovely time.


9 Comments

Mechanic Leigh Print Version on Amazon

Originally posted on Written Words Never Die:

I’m happy to announce that Mechanic Leigh, paperback, is now available from Amazon. Please click on image for Amazon USA:

Mechanic Leigh full cover_JPEG

Click here for Amazon UK

The back cover contains eight (8) comments, a small selection from the many supporters of Mechanic Leigh. I reproduce these comments below:

I enjoy your Mechanic Leigh stories. The info on Singapore, the language and the cultural info wrapped in a clever and enjoyable prose – Stephen Baum, California, USA

Loved it as it took me back to my evil teen years – Ian Grice, Queensland, Australia

This whole saga of Mechanic Leigh is so beautifully written – Soma Mukherjee, New Delhi, India

I really enjoyed these Mechanic Leigh stories – Melissa Perera, Maryland, USA

Eric is a living testimony to the belief that if we write from the heart, we will touch other hearts – Jane Thorne, Buckinghamshire, UK

The characters are funny and…

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The Tale of the 6th Earl’s Wife

After Francis Cotes (1726-1770) Portrait of Maria Gunning, Countess of Coventry (1733-1760), Wife of the 6th Earl, after 1751

After Francis Cotes (1726-1770)
Portrait of Maria Gunning, Countess of Coventry (1733-1760), Wife of the 6th Earl, after 1751

The Tale of the 6th Earl’s Wife

Fragile rose silk, dainty,
pirouetted the ballroom floor,
her dance card was full and busy
the instant she walked through the door.

One, named George, paid attention,
thought her beauty beyond compare.
She blushed, her eyes on her pink ribboned shoes.
He swore that all dances they’d share.

The chandeliers shone and glittered,
brave smiling faces glowed,
young men in scarlet jackets and wigs,
young women’s dreams overflowed.

Croome, the seat of the Coventry’s
basked in the afternoon sun,
as Maria arrived in a carriage,
before the ball had begun.

Her dancing slippers were wrapped
in tissue, held in a frame,
she removed them from her valise.
Maria Gunning was her name.

The chandeliers shone and glittered,
brave smiling faces glowed,
young men in scarlet jackets and wigs,
young women’s dreams overflowed.

Her heart skipped and leapt
as she thought of her Earl;
of scarlet and black velvet bows.
He was darkly handsome, she a vain young girl.

When he came her way, she was queen for a day,
to become his Countess before long.
Pearls in hair, rose pink shoes on feet,
her celebrity fêted in song.

The chandeliers shone and glittered,
brave smiling faces glowed,
young men in scarlet jackets and wigs,
young women’s dreams overflowed.

At the height of the Georgian era
a lucent, whirlwind romance,
they were together for only 8 years,
that ball was a grand place to dance.

His black buckled shoes on the marbled floor
with the pink, the two made one whole.
‘Tis said it was all in the detail,
and they were soul to sole.

Why together no longer?
The tale is tragic to tell,
a lead based white face powder
sounded Maria’s death knell.

The chandeliers shone and glittered,
brave smiling faces glowed,
young men in scarlet jackets and wigs,
young women’s dreams overflowed.

Polly Robinson © 2014

For those who are interested in finding out more about Maria Gunning and her life, here’s a link to the main Croome site: Croome Court, Worcestershire

Adiós for now, dear friends, I’m off to help with Worcestershire Literary Festival for the next 10 days. Hope to see some of you there. If you’ve not heard about it, click the link: LitFest and get in the know!

Posted on dVerse Poets ‘Meeting the Bar’


60 Comments

Dream On

Oh! I dream of the day I have my own home
maybe thatched, with roses around the door.
It’s up a sandy, sheltered lane, with a path of loam
soft under my naked feet: a yielding, moving floor.

I have time to write, I have time to stare,
no demands and no choices to make.
Time for nothing, to go nowhere.
No emails, no letters, no time for fakes.

I think of what I have now,
and will let go for my dreams of the future.
A home of my own, a salve to my brow.
It’s a long time coming; I’m not a trooper.
I’m waiting to move, and how.

I don’t wish to journey my life away,
to a place I see in my dreams.
The place I’ll call home is where friends can stay.
It’s the place I’ll return to wherever I roam.
My home, my soon to be, home.

Polly Robinson © 2014

In response to Abhra’s prompt in dVerse poets Poetics : Around the world today – it’s the place for poets to visit, you will be glad you have.


5 Comments

Poet Laureate Book Launch – Barred

Polly:

Fab write up by the lovely Nina about a very special night in which eight dear friends, most from Worcester Writers’ Circle and the superb Suz Winspear joined me to read the various voices in ‘Chatterton’.
Many thanks to Nina for being there and for writing a review.x

Originally posted on awritersfountain:

Thursday night was the book launch of Tim Cranmore’s volume of poetry, he is coming to the end of his Laureateship, the new Poet Laureate of Worcester will be announced on the 20th June at the Guildhall, I am attending this ceremony, I have 4 friends in the final. I have turned down the opportunity to perform in Birmingham to go and support the finalists and also to have a different experience.

Tim Cranmore is a poet with a sense of humour (read his write up for this event) and also a talented vegetable player – he can make a carrot sound like a piccolo!

TC barred

Worcestershire Poet Laureate, Tim Cranmore, launches his book of poetry ‘Barred’ at the Old Rec with support from members of Worcester Writers’ Circle who perform ‘Chatterton’ a series of poems based on Henry Wallis’s painting ‘The Death of Lord Chatterton’ by Polly Robinson.

His new…

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A different way of sharing history

Polly:

I endorse everything that Heather says in this blog post – the actors are stupendous, and Croome Court is well worth a visit – go along Sunday 27 July for an unforgettable treat.

Originally posted on Weaving Yarns:

As well as writing poetry and songs which share oral history, I’m involved in a project at Croome Court in Worcestershire, devising and performing pieces which share history through site specific theatre. I am one of a group of 8 actors who have been developing new material and then performing it since January. Currently there are 2 plays being performed on Sundays: I play the part of the Cook in Minnie and the Jollop and my next performances are on Sunday July 27th at 11.15, 1.00, 2.00 & 3.00. Here’s the website for details of admission prices https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/croome/

The Croome grounds are absolutely stunning, so if you fancy a day out with a difference, I recommend it. Our project is called Croome Encounters. Last Friday, we performed both plays to an invited audience of Croome volunteers and staff and had this wonderful feedback:

  • I would  like to thank you…

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Native

If the English Oak is an immigrant from Spain
then, what does ‘native’ mean?
If the robin is an import from France
as per Georges Cuvier
who ‘created’ the genus
in 1800…
a chat,
an insectivorous bird
that catches flies.
From the Far East perhaps?
Yet Linnaeus of the 18th century
originally described the flyer.
How can this be?
If robin redbreast
hails from the 1400′s
and the Gran Canarian robin
goes back 2.3 million years.

What does ‘native’ mean?

Polly Robinson © 2014


13 Comments

Carol Ann Duffy, National Poet Laureate

Originally posted on University of Worcester weekly staff news:

the beesWe are delighted to welcome the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy on Thursday 5 June at 7pm for what will be an intimate evening of poetry and music. An extraordinary poet and a mesmerising performer, she will read from recent collections including aptly The Bees: “Sometimes the bee is Duffy’s subject, sometimes it strays into the poem, or hovers at its edge. In the end, Duffy’s point is clear: the bee symbolizes what we have left of grace in the world, and what is most precious and necessary for us to protect.” She is joined by multi-talented musician, John Sampson.

Hosted in the intimate 75 seated Studio space at The Hive.

Tickets cost £10 per person and can be purchased in person from The Hive, Level 1 Information Desk and in person or by phone from the University of Worcester Arena, Hylton Road, Worcester, WR2 5JN. The phone number for booking…

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The Old Dollop – an Englyn

The old dollop enjoys his jollop and
always talks lots of rot.
His hair is tied in a knot.
He wears shorts, sandals, blue socks.

Polly Robinson © 2014

This Celtic poetry form, the straight one-rhymed ‘englyn unodl union’ consists of four lines of ten, six, seven and seven syllables. The seventh, eighth or ninth syllable of the first line introduces the rhyme and this is repeated on the last syllable of the other three lines. The part of the first line after the rhyme alliterates with the first part of the second line.


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. Silverly shining, a meshed pit shows off yellow ragwort on which cinnabar moth caterpillars’ chomp.

Polly Robinson © 2014

Cinnabar Moth Caterpillars from www.glaucus.org.uk

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