Polly

Writings and Witterings


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A Secret Mystery

J.Sheridan Le Fanu

J.Sheridan Le Fanu

After Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

A Secret Mystery

Soulful Maud wanders in solitude
thinking of the strangest attitudes,
of Dickon’s stumpy gait,
of cousin Dudley, loutish and rude,
she flees from him, escapes.
Silas: sinister opium freak,
Milly: rustic, amiable, weak,
thoughts of a marriage to Dudley reek.
Maud’s held like bait.

Madame de la Rogierre appears,
Maud appalled, recalls earlier fears,
plagued by poison intent.
Her governess of lies and spy years;
tortured, Maud’s in torment.
Dragged and driven to a train carriage,
forced to think on a hateful marriage,
knows her qualms will be disparaged.
Shock-scathed; she’s spent.

Wakes to find herself at Bartram-Haugh,
told she is mistaken by the sobs
of hollow-faced Madame,
great long nose and gobbling, cackling chops,
presence like a phantom.
Maud watches crouched in a corner, hidden.
Dudley takes a spiked hammer, driven
to smash the brains of a strange victim.
Thought it was Maud.

Polly Robinson © 2014

September 2014 marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Le Fanu (1814-1873). He’s famous for several gothic tales and poems. In A Glass Darkly and Uncle Silas are amongst his better known works. This poem is based on the story in Uncle Silas and on the form of his poem The Stream.


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Void

empty shoe www.flickr.com

Empty Shoe – acknowledgements to http://www.flickr.com

A last [1]
forms material shaped
to fit

under leather,
above sole,
below bowed laces

filled by instep,
flesh and bone,
five toes

the void

unthought-of, invisible
yet visible
gap to be filled

and fragranced

Polly Robinson © 2014

A cobbler's last acknowledgement to:  marketlavingtonmuseum.wordpress.com

A Cobbler’s Last – acknowledgements to: marketlavingtonmuseum.wordpress.com

[1] A block or form shaped like a human foot and used in making or repairing shoes.


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Junk Mail

Who needs junk mail?
funk mail,
punk mail,
cards of clunk mail
stinks like skunk mail,
chunky chunk mail,
dog-end detritus,
debunk junk mail.

Who needs junk mail?
hunk mail,
gunk mail,
sofas, clothes and flunkety-flunk mail,
better when it’s shrunk mail,
downtrodden drunk mail,
don’t they know it’s fail mail?
Junk mail.

Polly Robinson © 2014


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Twinkle

The Pleiades (1885) by the Symbolist painter Elihu Vedder

The Pleiades (1885) by the Symbolist painter Elihu Vedder

Twinkle

The Symbolist, Vedder,
thought the maids beautiful,
the seven sisters shine.
Their glittering garments
throng the skies. Stars recall
their birth on Kyllini,
to twinkle, cluster bright.

Polly Robinson © 2014

Vandana Sharma from New Delhi, India, is our host at dVerse Meeting the Bar tonight. Vandana’s asked us to write to a poetry form called “Pleiades” invented in 1999 by Craig Tigerman. She tells us that “Pleiades” consist of seven lines, each line starting with the same letter as the title. The title is a single word. Later, Hortensia Anderson restricted the length of each line to six syllables.

Vandana asked us to write a poem in “Pleiades” form. As an extra challenge add a reference to a celestial body (any planet, star, constellation, meteor etc) as this form has been inspired from a heavenly object.


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First Love

piano

The piano is in need of tuning
so it can be played in key
music is my first love
rock opera symphony

I love music sheets tucked inside the seat
of piano stool beneath
music soft music loud music beautiful
uplifting and complete

Dissonance: off key
jangles discord—clang clang
the music chaotic bitter sharp
air disturbed—bang bang

Black keys and white keys
wait proud and still
for the piano tuner’s lever
(here he comes up the hill)

He plays sotto voce
presto forte staccato allegro
adagio tosto tutti vivace
tenerezza eco o o o o oh

A tonic in tune once more
affettuoso read the score
pianissimo dolcissimo
come play me piano implores

Polly Robinson © 2012 reposted for Poetics – Under the Influence of Music, a prompt from Anthony Desmond.

Sotto voce: in an undertone
Presto: very fast
Forte: loud; strong
Staccato: brief; detached
Allegro: fast
Adagio: slowly
Tosto: swift; rapid
Tutti:
all; everyone
Vivace: lively
Tenerezza: tenderly
Eco: echo; an effect in which a group of notes is repeated


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Scorpio

Written for the Kidderminster monthly acoustic spoken word and music night, Mouth & Music ‘Ghosts and Ancestors’  October 2014–I didn’t make it on the night, so here it is…

Scorpio

Funereal drapes and grey shadow
fingers; faded velvet hangs;
single candle
streaks the blackened room.
The alcove portrait scowls
–surveys the family–
gathered, they eat cake.

Boy puts crumbed hands to face;
the portrait stares
with wrathful eyes.
Boy wishes for warmth
away from the glare,
the daggers of the portrait.
No one else sees.

Uncle picks up the folio
below the portrait;
opens it,
lines mirror down the sides
of his mouth.
Matching eyes,
identical scowl.

The boy views the face
he will become:
same frown,
same beetling brows,
same shock of black hair.
Same birthday.
Samhain.

Polly Robinson © 2014