Tuesday 13 June 2023

Five Poems by Wendy Webb


I love you,

although I’m a needle in your side

to stitch together clothes so brash and fine.

I love you,

though love is relative, as you are – all –

and so I stitch the family clothing round.

I love you,

though you may mistake that love for hate

and fail to read the hieroglyphs in garments.

You love me too

in words and hugs, familiar moments,

yet what’s love when alteration’s found?

You want me so unstitched,

this moment looming as family

and tweak the edges, press and stitch,

yet fail to see the warp and weft;

to superglue your mindset of a dress.

I love you too,

though will not stoop to weave and tidy ends.

You cluster in familiar colours,

shades hover round the edges of the room.

Do they see now, what’s hidden underside?

Do they laugh or nick a thread

to validate a picture into knots?

I love you,

though this Wake is thrilled with absence

and all around are yours and mine,

that’s fine and brash and tangled like old clothes.


To wake at a Wake is the worst,

so please do not make it your first.

If you’ve survived it all this far,

heavily sat down at the bar,

Guaranteed: a terrible thirst.

To wake at a Wake is the worst,

there’s Joie de Vivre’s greatest outburst.

Though you don’t care who’s sat nearest,

nor those who’ve gathered their dearest,

guaranteed, you’re sat where it’s cursed.

To wake at a Wake is the worst,

most shades – guaranteed – will not durst.

They lie low to count relatives,

then waft through floral bella-gifts.

Guaranteed, escape’s not rehearsed.

To wake at a Wake is a first

(excepting Lazarus’ outburst).

Talking to strangers in plenty,

avoiding subjects so trendy,

guaranteed to fly high uncoerced.


[After Lynn Woollacott/Reach 287, after Purrell Perry/1935]

My father once revealed his moustache:

by shaving off his beard (mid-life crisis).

Big brother grew droopy Ringo whiskers,

then letter-dated and married a wife.

Met a divorcee, clean-shaven (wore a suit);

married him and he’s never stopped shaving.

Firstborn cultured wispy blond facial hair,

like nowhere: returned from Uni; a parcel.

My baby’s full-bodied beard and tangled locks

decreed – we heard – not Samson, but Delilah.

BIKE RIDE, EARLHAM (Pantoum, 2 variations)

The leaves of Autumn falling falling fall…

can one year/ten/a lifetime grieve such waste?

Fuelled rage as amber’s wind-whipped piles appal

most senses (absenting the joy of taste).

Can one year, ten, a lifetime grieve such waste,

all gathered round the table for a feast?

Most senses absenting, the joy of taste,

the candles/laughter/wine is now the Beast.

All gathered round the table for a feast

of empty chairs and tables here; not there.

The candles, laughter, wine is now the Beast,

disPutin’ Peace on Earth most everywhere.

Of empty chairs and tables, here and there,

burnt ruins: ancient/recent chill bone-cold.

Disputing Peace on Earth most everywhere;

in famines/floods our babies look so old.

(Variation 1)

Burnt ruins: ancient/recent chill bone cold,

fuelled rage as amber’s wind-whipped piles appal.

In famines, floods, our babies look so old.

The leaves of Autumn falling falling fall.

(Variation 2)

Burnt ruins: ancient/recent chill bone cold,

now Winter’s here, it’s calling calling call…

In famines, floods, our babies look so old,

while Spring is beautiflorious for all.

Now Winter’s here, it’s calling calling call…

fuelled rage as amber’s wind-whipped piles appal.

While Spring is beautiflorious for all,

the leaves of Autumn falling falling fall.



Raging winter storms left the promenade

in a state of disrepair: beach huts in primary shades

temporarily beached in a farmer’s field.

Returning to a vanishing, what remains?

A solo swimmer crawls across the ocean,

emerging bronzed as lobster from the Med;

all hairs stand chill in concentrated grit

of pebble paths or gravel to the shade

of this cliff faced in grass and steeping climb:

to the eyrie of the coastguard’s flag poles and museum

and blue of endless summer sky.

A nubile pre-teen loiters in the curve

of waters pooled around the groyne,

where tots in sun-suits paddle without burn

of bare shine on fair skin:

protecting futures.

Lovers cream bare calves and thighs and arms

of women lying absorbed between the sheets

of fat pulp fiction, frictioned by its thrill,

while others – bored and blond – spread empty legs

around a camp of sunscreen, surf boards, spades.

No Purple Patch of ocean deeps to dark

the gentlest shade of air spread to the sky,

horizoned by the press of Midlands’ air:

relaxing into Wells or teashop Cley.

Here is all sun and sand and sea and sky,

to lie away depressions for a while;

and here my son unframed the grey surround:

my morning shade of grumbling by the mirror…

For he saw me through his love.

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, The Journal, The Frogmore Papers) and online (Littoral Magazine, Autumn Voices, Wildfire Words, Lothlorien, Meek Colin, Atlantean), 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.
Current poetry collection: LOVE’S FLORELOQUENCE, Wendy Ann Webb, Amazon.co.uk. Love's Floreloquence: Amazon.co.uk: Webb, Wendy Ann, Meek, CT, Meek, CT, Webb, Wendy Ann: 9798372967595: Books

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