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Posts Tagged ‘Polly Blackley’

Stung

December 14, 2007 2 comments

Furious buzzing broke the evening’s stillness
as a cloud of wasps rose darkly from the hedge,
assailed us, climbed our arms and necks,
flew up inside our clothes, stinging, stinging.

I whirled wildly, arms flailing, flapped my shirt,
furiously stamping, swearing, screaming get off!
get off me you bastards!
as small and striped
they possessed me, tapered abdomens rising and falling.

Time slowed, minutes extended to eternity —
pain and heat, the movement of my limbs,
my shouts and their buzzing in a dry field,
my heels kicking up dust in the fading light.

by Polly Blackley

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Categories: Insecta Tags:

Hum

September 21, 2007 7 comments

Blue sky goes down behind the buildings
all the way to the shining river.
Buses are rumbling
over Waterloo Bridge;
my sandals vibrate.
Not a moment’s rest —
I feel every semibreve
in belly, chest, throat.
I look towards Blackfriars
as particles of road dirt
are drawn silently
to the walls of the National Theatre,
and voices rise like birds
over the pale dome of Saint Paul’s.

The city’s electric hum
laps at my skin
as I lie in the dark
wearing only earplugs.
I don’t hear the street cleansing team
emerge from the depot;
the roar of the squat vehicle
with revolving brushes,
the clang of empty litterbins
hurtling back into place.
I don’t hear the clubbers arguing,
the purr of rickshaws,
the inline skaters rattling past.
I sleep in silence, twitching.

by Polly Blackley

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Categories: Making Sense Tags:

Moon

October 5, 2006 1 comment

I remember walking up the cold dark path
to the tall mesh gate to the school,
wearing my brown blazer and beret,
my hair thin and frizzy at the back
from sleep and fiercely twiddling strands
that grew so tangled I had to pull them out
and put them down the side of my bed.

I remember all the pegs in the cloakroom
and the awe I felt for the boy
who taught me how to tie my shoes;
and the day we all sat and gazed
at the giant television on its mighty stand
as men in space-suits lurched and floated
over the sandy surface of the moon.

by Polly Blackley

Categories: Education Tags:

Asleep

July 26, 2006 4 comments

I am dreaming climbing slowly up the stairs in the house where I grew up. I stand on the landing. All its doors are closed. I open my bedroom door. The glow of the gasfire, and my hearthrug like a shaggy dog’s coat. On hands and knees I go and bury my face in its tickly softness. In the bed a human form – the top of a child’s head, her sleep-swept hair just visible on the pillow. I know that it is me. And that I mustn’t wake her. I creep, stealthy as a parent on Christmas night, to the door.

by Polly Blackley

Categories: Short Shorts Tags:

Hidden

February 16, 2006 5 comments

My mother knows I’m here,
down behind the front seat in the dark space
where people in the back seat put their feet,
with gritty bits and half a rotting leaf
and a sweet paper sticking to my hand.
I just fit in here, hidden, squeezed in tight.

My father doesn’t know I’m here;
just off the London train smelling of the Times,
opening the car door tiredly climbing in –
he doesn’t know I’m here, and she pretends.
Crouching in my little place I wait,
my tummy quivering with a secret laugh.

I’ll wait until we’re driving up the hill
I’ll wait until I can’t wait any more
and then I’ll pop up just behind his head
and laugh out loud into his shiny ear
and listen to his marvellous surprise
‘Good heavens! I didn’t know that you were there!’

by Polly Blackley

Categories: Lies and Hiding Tags: