Sunday 8 May 2022

Five Poems by Wendy Webb



Considering the past through PC-speak,

How to translate eyes/ears/perceptions:

Including a dolls’ house/rocking horse/

Little Andy Pandy (panto for children

Dressed for a black and white photo) – not

Hopscotch for the VHS, then DVD, memory stick,

Or Kodak Brownie 127; my first prize.

Oranges bobbing in water, to bite and bait,

Despite germs/bullies/institutional semolina.

God-only-knows who lived (pre-Covid)

And who were traumatised into poetry.

Me? I played hide (no seek). Boys?

Even marbles on lino looked pretty,

Same as pea-shooters; though not to Jane Eyre.


Consider Mums and Dads/Doctors and Nurses/

Hospitals/Hoovering make-believe

In a Victorian building (corridors, hard lino, pipes).

Little Mermaid with no voice.

Dollies safely at home (dressed up and stern).

Heidi down from the Alps, sleepwalking in the dark?

Ophelia drowning for lack of love?

One Childhood Game survived growing up:

Dreaming Joseph’s rainbow coat –

Guessing when my prince would come,

And garnering sheaves of corn

Meeting my future’s past.

Eyes on the world,

                           Seeing an adult child; with Mr Rochester?




It was not the best price ever,

but it would do.

Nor the best food, though it slid down


Content to watch the world go by

inside a restaurant.

Except, they slowly stayed

and watched the world waft by

in hubble bubbles, steaming away strains.


Yet, nothing on the menu gave the price:

Aperitif? Dessert? Coffee?

No matter.

Misunderstanding ‘ou’ and ‘et’,

the bill grew larger; yet it did not matter.

Nothing mattered; scents of steam

and hubble-bubbling slowly brewed

to every course and, too soon, departing,

not inhaling;

nor leaving with a hookah.


A perfect pearl within a pearly frame.
Is it too much to hope for many more?
A string to dance the Milky Way, its game
is far beyond mortality, before

first breath or last? I don't know what to write.
The scent of winter intrudes on dark sky.
I cannot flutter-wing, owl-angel flight
to shining seas, purlescent, floating by.

I want to capture sweet meringues in snowfall;
to crystallise fresh mince pies/cake-drunk coating.
December disappoints as drizzly rainfall
and all the choirs of heaven's absence: floating.

Simply, fake champagne and Hyde Park Autumn,
russet-laughter, negligee, crook caught-em.


FIRST IMPRESSIONS (Shakespearian sonnet)


There is a photograph I never share,

although it’s locked inside my darkest soul.

And if I showed, would anybody care?

They’d hide, unfriend what cannot be made whole.


This picture I see clearly as you post

your loss, with sad expression, on the web.

I sit there in a nightdress. Raise the host,

and let the closed eyes stare. So still and dead.


I did not have so many months to grieve,

for less is more; and nothing screams the loudest.

This whirlwind was too secret to believe

how unfurled limbs, so perfect, were the hardest


to spread, to count the fingers and the toes,

reflecting features everybody knows.





There’s a key in the outhouse lavatory,

under the seat, secured by a rubber band.

It’s draughty inside, and dark without security lights.


Security lights?  Not then, not ever,

just fear to open the door,

to turn the yale, unlock the chubb, the chain

secured with excess padlocks.

Let me in!


I daren’t go in, I’ll have a wee

and try to think of newsprint, what’s it for?

Flush with news, I have to open the door.

It’s dark outside, so dark in the back porch.


And I can’t see there anymore,

no street lights round the back.

The front door’s broke

within my endless dream,

a rerun on TV.


The front door’s falling, falling off its hinges

and I can’t lock the door,

it’s cold outside.


I need to pull the chain and go inside.

It’s dark outside, so dark

and Dad is late.

He’s working shifts, he won’t be back till late.


It’s cold outside, I’m shivering on the loo.

The yale’s slipped under the toilet seat,

elastic keeps it safe, in place,

and I’m the wrong side of the chained back door.


It’s late, I’ll make a dash, and I’m not scared.

I’m home at last: the coach, the bus, the walk

and it’s so dark outside.


There’s pork pie in the pantry, what a feast.

Salted; with a cup of strong dark tea

and milk.  Thank goodness for Carnation.


It’s dark outside, I pull the curtains shut,

then flood the living room with electricity.


Wendy Webb: Born in the Midlands, Wendy found home and family life in Norfolk. She has edited Star Tips poetry magazine 2001-2021. Published in various small press magazines (Reach, Quantum Leap, Envoi, Seventh Quarry) and recently online (Littoral Magazine, Autumn Voices), she was placed First in Writing Magazine’s pantoum poetry competition. She enjoyed devising new poetry forms (Davidian, Magi, Palindromedary). She wrote her father’s biography, ‘Bevin Boy’, shortly before his death. Her autobiography, ‘Whose Name Was Wit in Waterr’ focused on what makes a poet (title inspired by Keats’ grave in Rome). She has read extensively from Chaucer to modern-day poets, inspired to attempt many traditional forms and free verse. Favourite poets (in no particular order): Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sophie Hannah, John Burnside, John Betjeman, the Romantic Poets (especially Wordsworth), George Herbert, William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Mary Webb, Norman Bissett, William Shakespeare, the Bible, and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.



No comments:

Post a Comment

Five Poems by Richard Levine

    Blinded     There are thoughts I keep mostly to myself,   the way day and night mind their own business.       Would it surprise you to ...