Saturday 11 May 2024

Five Poems by Wendy Webb


I am an Island, Hunstanton

Vivid memories of that one time when the East Coast howled

outrage on outrage, leaving people stranded on rooftops; dying.

Fibbing. Not so old. Too young to understand that; camping

on the East Coast at Hunstanton could produce candy floss,

toffee apples, and a deluge to match Noah’s Eastern arc of promise.

Arafat? Dream mountains. Snug as a bug in a sleeping bag.

Safest place. Dad in the frame tent, with big brother.

No Mum. Sister grown up faster (baby at 16, Terry’s nappies).

So why is experience on a par with Global Warming?

Simply, heads didn’t roll, survival: like Catherine.

Aged 11 or so, more interested in paddling, and funfairs,

Des Res on the campsite. Slept in the warmest spot;

delighting post-childhood in hotel rooms (with bathroom).

Who considers, childishly, devastations hanging onto palm trees…

villas swept away; low-lying land turned into Atlantis?

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, 1960’s-style; this was 1970.

Kept head, campsite panicked awake not woke, to loud clashes

of metal frames, frantic voices and squelching canvas.

Laughing – later –congratulated fortitude, sat in café

promenade-hot with mugs of tea at 7am. Listening to storm dying-

down. Watched random humans woken early. So many tents,

like islands, packed in boot (or on trailer).

Except, one family almost dry, stuffed into sidecar, brother

riding pillion, Dad cursing weather and self-congratulating

foresight. I am an island - not, up to ankles/knees in water:

pitched at top of field, no floods reached Combo;

rumbling away at first light. Shockingly happy memories,

as TV news shows a father holding tight to family on rooftop.

Safe as houses. Right place, right time,

on a par with Catherine (kept a head, when those around spun round).

Dad swore, noticing wraith of a woman along promenade,

stepping down ramp, back and down, testing, testing, paddling…

Breakfast finished hurriedly. Motorbike and sidecar revving up,

rumbling away from wild East Coast, rocking and rolling bones

back to safety of the Midlands; no sea, no flood; a future ghost.

Wondering, sometimes, about funfair, campsite, soggy canvas

and archipelago of random holiday-makers. Child’s eye view

of a game of tag; and one woman – chilling the North Sea

as she stepped out for a paddle one last time.

A Perfect Summer’s Day Too Soon

Sleeping. What is sleeping? What is sleep?

Drop; no.

Wake, I’m awake. It’s too early to fall

ache, arms; ache, neck; woolly head

matchstick eyes.

Too early for lunch; too early for drink;

I’m awake.

Why? Would sleep alter the landscape?

There are shades that never appear in Spring

and birds are busybusybusynesting.

Pigeons, like drunken women, assault the nectar

dripping from the flowers.

Ants are at work. Everything has purpose.

Bunnies staring, after pellets of endless eggs;

is life all shite for chickens, first, or six packs?

Pity nurses, planning their lay in the garden

(for screaming infants demanding chocolate).

The sky is haemorrhaging a darkest red;

sun-pops like NYPD and actors pretending

to ignore crowds of touts and fun-lovers.

I will sleep when my loved one is in my arms

again. Off to the Garden Centre without a car.

Raining, endless raining; matchstick eyes.

How will Grandad sleep, now Grandma’s gone?

Blitzing Every Place, Godiva-Rich and Caring

Everywhere there’s ruins of grounded past

brought vividly to life through coloured glass,

each shade a vibrant palette set in stone

and brightening people’s faces, walking along.

Nothing remains the same, there’s preservation

of historic nooks and crannies and statuesque peeping

through keyholes. Pure delight to wander round

and see, lived joy in modern streets so fountain-rich.

There’s nakedness in winter trees and parks,

spread open square, Godiva-rich with promise.

No Peeping Tom clocks-off, without a cause

to bring environmental richness to everyone.

Student culture mixes in a vibrant city,

while ancient forms of transport raise a smile.

Every place unique, owned by visitors/tourists

or parents/youth and age dressed for all seasons.

The heart of England encompasses global peace,

retells its story through Blitzing air raid sirens.

Home’s in every footstep, where dropping litter’s

a work of creative genius containing waste.

Regeneration’s programmed within each flower,

recapturing ancestors via joyful planting.

Seeds germinate, fed and watered, grow and thrive,

planted trees breathe fresh air for human workout.

Every wily programme of conservation,

young hands and feet for developmental projects.

Sand, mud and puddles butterfly fresh dreams

of nectar, bees and birdsong to inhale soul.

Reduce, reuse, recycle at coffee shops,

biodegradable packaging and takeaway responses.

Neighbourly environment of caring and progress,

a happy, friendly place to share with pride.


Exhaustion kicks in. The long drive home, every muscle as if it’s run a marathon. Marathon, on an Oldies weekend? Gentle croquet or bowls? Not us, partying with the best of them. Sedate arrival, large room with all the treats for a generous stay. Kingsize, separate bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, with biscuits. Seat at mealtime guaranteed. Luxury furnishings and chandeliers. Watching Mr D’Arcy at Chatsworth was no understatement. I don’t mean the zimmer frames and wheelchairs. The partner dancing with Mr Hotwheels as the mirror ball kissed the floor.

Extensive gardens to wander round, on a sunny damp day, where seating was banned (cold in old bones). Meandering beside the lake, in search of pheasants, ducks, squirrels and guinea fowl. Relaxing over a 3-course meal, waitress service. Then finding a comfy seat with a view. Waiting, glad rags on full display, sparkle everywhere. The relaxed paying extra for table service. Fans middle of the front row, mobiles at the ready. Until he arrived to screams like Elvismania. Or Tom Jones, Tina Turner, Sara Brightman…

            Birds call across lake,
            run, flit or float loud freedom.
            Bare chill is the meal

Calving a Hundred Wild Nature Moments

[Found Poem/all phrases/ from a 100th Issue of poetry]

My Memory Book is calling from a special place:

I hold you in interesting times like a pastiche

or epitaph with a deadline of forgotten men.

Your brown thumb’s a rebel cause of the Golden

Generation. I’ll not deny, Boris, the bogeyman,

appears like a butterfly to a unicorn with cold feet.

What’s in a Highland cow, at peace? Lemon drizzle

solutions, to memories of us. Oh, stop the wind, and watch it!

Difficult, with bated breath, it’s time to go, saving beans

or fleas. She was a shock of blockage, the absent plumber

(Roadman retires) from his watery tomb on our street.

Ever so gently she brought joy I did not write, all at sea

with great rockers. Diving again, one escaped, meaning

a child carved hope from a broken heart; to June:

the lowest shelf was the greatest of all.

From white elephants, the sun shone brightest

like an old photograph. A fledgling’s clinging pride,

when (s)he lies, a jumble of legs and rainbow gunge,

too wobbly to play the game of ‘Walk with me’/

‘For sale’. Putting pains (the wrong kind) to music,

or silence: ‘The coming of Winter’ (audio recording)

of a prayer for peace By the window one sleepless night

as snow falls like Spring blossom, song palette on the

window pane. Call me lazy, to remember war and peace

in little Britain in September. Funerals foreshortened, like

curtseys and handshakes. Gone, the donkey work of Politics…

pray for no more snow. Have a short-lived tableau:

the fall of a blue sparrow on open space. Not again!

Remember, missing the boat, afloat, covered in snow.

Both died in a heatwave. Tea? Anyone for tea, wave Goodbye,

with Paddington. As long as the oak tree grows through Autumn,

face masks/plague are the new normal. Politic to watch June,

with her calf Winter; think not beyond the moment’s delivery.

Another song in praise of Poetry? Joy be!

WENDY WEBB, from the North Midlands, UK, prolific poet, experimenting with many modern and traditional forms and reading historic poets extensively. She ran a small press poetry magazine; won some awards; and is recently published with Reach, Sarasvati, Quantum Leap, Crystal, Seventh Quarry, The Journal, Frogmore Papers and online through Wildfire Words, Littoral Magazine, Lothlorien, Atlantean, Poetry Wivenhoe, Drawn to the Light (Ireland), Seagulls (Canada) and Autumn Voices, and local radio on Poetry Place.

Landscapes: Webb, Wendy Ann, Norris-Kay, David, Meek, CT, Meek, Norris-Kay, David: 9798851001659: Books



1 comment:

  1. Thank you again, Strider, for publishing my work, including this latest on the Blog. Also the many poems that have reached your print Poetry Journal - such an excellent presentation of work and print quality/large-format/perfect bound.
    I will be back...


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