Monday, 20 June 2022

Four Poems by Wendy Webb


Elizabeth Taylor with red hair

arrived by train with a hefty suitcase

and took over the large bedroom

in the family caravan (shade of maroon/striped).

Mablethorpe: summer holiday 1964.

Cary Grant with the beard

collected her by motorbike combo,

vowed he slept with the children

all week – in less comfy living space.

(At 93 he sweated at his Great Escape).

Persephone – poet born and bred –

smiled less Mona Lisa, more Tommy Cooper,

for family photo album; ignoring streetwise older siblings.

One week flew by; he packed her

B.R. speed for the homeward journey.

In Sheffield, seven months later,

April 1965, my mixed-race brother arrived.

Mum had hoped for a grand reunion:

in retrospect, I guess she was colour blind.

Our two full weeks in Mablethorpe; home to Nottingham.


The dragon down the Loke has piercing eyes,

a dark side of the moon’s diabolic red.

He’s rusty, set in place, yet no-one tries

to wake those sleeping horses, nor raise the dread.

There, silently, the paddock’s wraithed in dark,

where the river valley floods in winter’s swell.

The stable glowers, unquiet in its stark

hellish vision of mind’s living hell.

‘Is it just for you? You have to book…’,

my splintered grace shards barefoot on my brain.

Just? To solo penetrate; well, fuck.

No food; no drink; a courtyard; I remain.

My poem complete – the sun is shining yet –

the demon waiter takes my order, fet(ches)…

THE 508 (Freestyle sonnet)

I dwelled upon those hidden things,

from Booths in Windermere and passing Bowness:

like a tourist destination – all that brings

in distancing through Troutbeck, Kirkstone Pass.

The Mortal Man lies sweetly dressed in cider,

contemplating climbs to Wansfell Pike.

Flooded with relief, Glenridding’s wider:

sailing to Pooley Bridge without the hike.

Each pausing place – like nursery slopes, El Teide,

a Coffin Route of drystone fells and sheep.

Inebriated clouds leap Herdwick’s leader,

none grieves her passing pints where it’s so steep.

So many Wordsworths fear the crowding bus:

humming, braking, shaking. All that fuss.


A dream is just a dream unless I see

its perfect form and meaning with serenity.

Jo was rushing through the café

and disappeared upstairs

with my son. Which one? What’s his name?

Surrounding me with chairs.

A dream of crowds of people

sitting round in groups.

Then Judi pauses, leans in,

concern writ in stoops.

My love, my life, then stops to chat:

releasing her. That’s that.

A close friend is so busy

wrapped up in care,

rushes off with my memories


Tourist cafes come and go,

dreaming strange new shapes.

Lost in weird phantasmic meals,

a movie reacquaints…

A casual acquaintance connects,

but quickly gone.

Male stronghold my fortress,

yet words are wrong.

Woke up crying loudly

(a croak of stirring breath),

a dream is just a dream

of impending death.

Wendy Webb: Born in the Midlands, home and family life in Norfolk. She edited Star Tips poetry magazine 2001-2021. Published in Indigo Dreams, Quantum Leap, Crystal, Envoi, Seventh Quarry) and online (Littoral Magazine, Autumn Voices, Wildfire Words, Lothlorien, Meek Colin), she was placed First in Writing Magazine’s pantoum poetry competition. She devised new poetry forms (Davidian, Magi, Palindromedary); wrote her father’s biography, ‘Bevin Boy’, and her own autobiography, ‘Whose Name Was Wit in Waterr’ (title inspired by Keats’ grave in Rome). She has attempted many traditional forms and free verse. Favourite poets: Dylan Thomas, Gerard Manley Hopkins, 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.

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