Writings and Witterings


Brown And Blue

We live in canvas bells for five days’
sweat-clammy shelter,
hot in fields of hay,
as a great war rages.
Anne and I become snake
and snake charmer around a smoky campfire.
The menfolk ‘on the front’
– some of our dads –
My dad’s a Local Defence Volunteer. He has a gun.
We have a singsong, Pack Up Your Troubles for wide-eyed mothers,
nurses, head-scarved land girls,
and munitions factory workers, canary-faced women
who feast on fat pork spitting
splitting sausages that stay
on the tongue with charred onion breath, for hours.

We wonder what it’s like
on the bloody muddy Western front.
Will jam jars and cotton reels really help?
If You Were The Only Girl In The World
our mothers’ eyes shine.
Big blue-garbed Girl Guides
tease us because we’re brown
– few gongs yet –
Me, arms akimbo, in a khaki sleeping bag;
writhing, serpentine, up and down,
side to side,
while Anne tootles, fluting on her recorder,
face dark with gravy browning.
In the trenches guns shatter eardrums, pop eyeballs, make mush of bones.

The big girls give out rubbery gas masks
– hard to breathe –
they send messages using small flags;
wrinkle soapy fingers in hospitals; lather and launder dressings;
roll bandages; prep stretchers for bleeding bodies.

We collect warm hens’ eggs, harvest cabbages and keep our chins up,
knit socks and scarves for the Tommies,
and hope our mums don’t get a telegram.

Polly Robinson © 2014

This poem was published in Remember, the Paragram Poetry Anthology 2014, I mentioned this in conversation with my friend, Mike Alma, who has sent me the photo below to show what the Girl Guides looked like in the early 20th century. Many thanks Mike. Here is Mike’s photo of Doris and Peg, bet they loved camping.

Mike's mum as a Guide circa 1920

Mike’s mum as a Guide circa 1920


Dry January

Poetry is alive and well,
plus it’s Björn’s birthday – that’s so swell.
What celebrations there will be
lots to eat and drink; he’ll be merry,
unless he’s doing ‘Dry January,’
like folk in the UK for charity.
There are other ways to get a message across
without such promo’s and all that dross.
If we want to give, we’ll give and then
many will give and give again;
no need for novelties, or bigging up,
we just do it quietly, without all that truck.
Those who commit to a better world
can do without a public fuss unfurled,
they quietly get on with helping others,
not suggesting time needed to recover
from a month of no alcohol like we’re in prohibition.
All I say is…don’t make it a tradition.

Polly Robinson © 2015


For dVerse Open Link Night. Join in at Open Link Night – January


The Key

Helen’s reflection looked coldly at her,
knock, knock on the door–a visitor
perturbed her, disturbed her reverie.
She rose from the chair, put the mirror away
she wasn’t expecting a caller today.
‘Who’s there?’ she squinted through the spyhole

‘I’ve something for you,’ said George, he was bold.

‘George!’ she exclaimed, ‘I don’t want to argue,
‘Put my key in the letterbox–go! Go!’

‘Oh no,’ wheedled George, ‘not so quick my lady,
‘open the door, be civilized, your key
‘won’t be left, unless, immediately,
‘you open the door and talk to me.’

‘I won’t let you in,’ cried Helen, ‘the laptop!
‘You said you’d take it and I won’t let it go.’

‘Open the door, let me in, you madam,
‘how many times have I told you before?’

Polly Robinson © 2015

Another list of things to fit into a piece of writing from a recent workshop:

  • A laptop computer
  • An unexpected caller
  • A mislaid key
  • Helen
  • A confrontation
  • Reflection


Try it–it’s fun :)


Today’s Moon Face

The moon is in Taurus
today, a First Quarter,
a young lunar growing
it never falters;
tomorrow waxing gibbous
it moves to Gemini,
slight silver shining disk
sultry in night skies.
Oxygen, silicon,
other traces…
we speculate
– it illuminates –
phases pass faces.

Polly Robinson © 2015

With acknowledgement to www.sanhujinka.org

With acknowledgement to http://www.sanhujinka.org


Naming A Tiger

Olivia’s tiger needed a name,
she set about making a tiger name game,
wrote names on paper and cut into strips,
boxed them, then hands into container dipped.
Into the box went India, Taj, Tony,
other names included Thomas and Boney,
Olivia pulled out the name of Toast,
a gentleman tiger, the host with the most;
he’s real, he’s a friend, he’s a tiger so cool,
tomorrow morning she’ll take him to school!

Polly Robinson © 2015


10th February in the Boars Head Gallery


I can’t make it to this event, but it’s sure to be brill!

Originally posted on Mouth and Music:

For a love-themed special, Mouth and Music is moving upstairs into the intimate Boars Head Gallery. Surrounded by an exhibition called “Museum of Women”, 2 outstanding women will entertain, along with open mic performers who sign up on the night.

Poet Lorna Meehan brings her unique brand of candid hilarity and singer Kate Wragg will woo with her haunting vocals and quirky lyrics. Heather Wastie is MC and the date is Tuesday 10th February 7.30.


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