Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Mundesley's Best Reach


There aches no bluer sea, for Mundesley’s reach
genuflects in ships on the horizon.
A snaking steeping promenade invites
beach-steps of land and sky in tide and surf.

This cultured pearl grits dream pearl-open shell
to tourist threads round fresh necks every year.
Here, Constable paints light like Suffolk sky,
engaged to brash-bright beach huts, Southwold rich.

Fresh bathers prey on salt, like sideways crabs;
primary buckets, spades and paddle-pools.
Recycled human flesh of every shape,
that castles little England for one day.

The ceaselessness of shorelines, colour charts
of bathrooms, kitchens, lounges on the beach.
Showered sand, hot tea, drip-sweet ice cream;
Canute, they parch to sun tans, sand in cracks.

A woolly mammoth leers, or sabre-toothed,
to shades of cave eyes, siege-storms, spark and night.
Black Shuck howls, but a breath on Cromer’s cliffs.
This backwater, unfocused and unframed.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

If You Must Love Me


Oh, love me like the ever-flowing tide,
it laughs and cries and loves and smiles all day
in every fickle womanly sweet way
and yet its night is dark and broad and wide.

It tumbles to a thousand fancies, yet
by tricking and by teases, fun will last
when pleasantries and frumperies are past.
So by such changes, sun will never set.

Love all my nothings, then you’ll never mind,
except the price of tissue-mountain heights.
If I am dry, please wet me – till you find
your creature comforts rage like Blackpool lights.
Love me while love’s tides rage before, behind;
for oceans lee and lie in sailing’s sights.

Inspired by ‘If thou must love me’ by Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

To my Toy Mistress


A million texts may pass before
my love grows cold and dim.
A thousand satellites all spin
to news your worth abroad.
A hundred birds take Avian flu
before you read my email
and fifty mannequins wait, undressed,
until you hit Delete.

Though I might toy with you, sweet Miss,
and sniff your youthful glue,
let us to sport and pizza, pray
the late bus – all Grim Reaper –
is too late.

I ache to be kept waiting until dawn.

Inspired by ‘To His Coy Mistress’ by Andrew Marvell

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Venus on Dartmoor


Where winding sheet of sky dips, brushing earth,
there watercolours freshen into rain.
Paternosters sponge the canvas, dripping
ambrosia’s clotted cream of grazing sheep.
The raging hills and valleys of the tide
rock seasick glory to the stomach’s churn.
Angels moonshine up to Jacob’s Ladder
of Venus bending in a cockle shell
of rimming golden curls beyond dull sight.
Seraphic scallops arc to nacred palette
of cloudburst spuming hammers back to blue
in black and white of anvil sheathed to green.
The mast rolls in to steeping graveside slope,
to bow a heron fishing at the last.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Windmills of Taverham / Eros of the Muse


Gone are the windmills of Taverham;
they are not there any more
beside the main road to Fakenham,
sailing their smiles as before.

Gone to the long reaches of Norfolk,
gone to that shine in the sky;
where Constable praises wide Suffolk,
arresting light air by and by.

The children are crossing, as ever.
Drivers stop, stare at the scene.
A building site greying to never:
the footpath and garden fence lean

to windmills of every description
and windmills of every size,
that crowded the garden’s conscription;
romancing the earth into skies.

Long-gone is that shrine to sweet Norfolk.
Grey heads rest sail-dreams to day.
Wind turbines will slice steps to Suffolk
and windmills of Walsingham Way.

EROS OF THE MUSE (the poem-lover) Wendy Webb

He comes with night and morning’s shining wings,
descends on Psyche, prone, where he alights.
She turns her gaze as air, ethereal, sings
and wraps her love in feather-down delights.

He rises, harsh and strong; she’s weak with love
and cannot break the rhythm of his flow.
She pants and pulls him closer, from above,
refracting gleams as godhead/darkness show.

She grieves before his leaving mould and stamp
of impotent weak arms around broad chest.
He heaves to absence morning’s cold and damp
as she rolls into dreams; knows that he’s gone.

But not for long; all day drags, dimming sheen
into her night, as sunshine brims serene.

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Sowing the Night / Stirring Earth to Night

SOWING THE NIGHT (Pantoum)  Wendy Webb

Late sun has set and dark has come to me,
shades rise on trees and fields, their lives not mine.
No beat of time can end so fast or be
toll signs of hope to draw all night in line.

Shades rise on trees and fields, their lives not mine.
Now lose my self, now dress in tones of grey,
a sign of hope to draw all night in line.
Sleep well taut bow, still arch free sounds and say:

Now lose my self, now dress in tones of grey,
to crush a cold shell hard and full of dreams.
Sleep well taut bow, still arch free sounds and say
this phased out ghoul is not so black, it seems

to crush a cold shell hard and full of dreams.
Deep light now breaks, now cracks the nut of pain:
this phased out ghoul is not so black, it seems
a sun’s fresh seed now shoots in cool soft rain.

Deep light now breaks, now cracks the nut of pain,
where no end lies and truth is just the start.
A sun’s fresh seed now shoots in cool soft rain:
sown course, so coarse dreams root to life’s sad part.

Where no end lies and truth is just the start,
no beat of time can end so fast or be
sown coarse so corse dreams root to life’s sad part:
late sun has set and dark has come to me.


The sparkling sun still rises every day
yet sets, a ruby in an opal sky.
Where ebony may jet but never stay
the sparkling sun still rises every day.

Whatever ancient earth stirs on its way,
dark’s cauldron, inhumane, bewitches why
the sparkling sun still rises every day
yet sets, a ruby in an opal sky.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Nightly Devotions / The Pieta


Sweet Guinevere joined an exam class;
they were Prepping that night for High Mass.
She vowed love’s ‘Hail Mary’,
devotion was scary.
Her glance-a-lot tutor let her Pass.

THE PIETA (Sonnet)  Wendy Webb

It glows with light on shining marbled stone,
lies aside St Peter’s nave, a lofty wreath.
It’s raised on high, up to the highest throne,
beyond such sorrow women can conceive.

He’s fallen like the morning star, full-blown,
draped round his mother’s knees in freak relief.
Flesh pale and still, bleached deathly to the bone.
No humans touch his hem from far beneath.

She’s glorious in suffering’s belief,
for ‘Touch Me Not’ folds round her terrible tone;
raw as the ages, screened to sanction grief,
impermeable to rage where breath has gone.

They pause to contemplate, their feeling brief,
then leave impassioned piety alone.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Night and Day

NIGHT AND DAY, DAY AND NIGHT (Villanelle)  Wendy Webb

The sea comes in, the sea goes out, so bare
in shades of nude, all rolling on the tide;
while light is changing, eyes can simply stare.

Twice every day her creeping mermaid hair
sweeps flashing scales and swirls where mermen ride.
The sea comes in, the sea goes out so bare.

Young sun wraps rising summer everywhere;
proud bouquets touching train of vestal bride,
while light is changing, eyes can simply stare.

Soft increments of time trace fins, compare
crude harbour clocks to tables, catch to stride.
The sea comes in, the sea goes out, so bare.

Sink solstice, tone to autumn airs, so rare;
chime lengthened shadows, plainsong’s deep-wrapped hide,
while light is changing, eyes can simply stare.

Pale lunar tides, like hallowed flows of prayer
or convents where bride light and dark abide.
The sea comes in, the sea goes out, so bare,
while light is changing eyes can simply stare.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Love on the Throne

LOVE ON THE THRONE (Sonnet)  Wendy Webb

I tear apart quilt words to scent-fresh pine,
dull routine absence hollows out my time:
a homely cesspit of free-flowing slime.
I need your cistern’s flush, where loving’s fine.

Although you rise where morning fails to shine,
no limescale builds to silt love into crime.
Air freshener bouquets - signatures of grime –
where moist to moist and skin to skin’s a sign:

One flesh, one heart, one red rose that you’re mine,
angelic choirs of snores tone me to rhyme.
No loveseat thrones such warm and comfy clime
and you will always be my Valentine.

I simply need your loving mess each day,
romancing me in passion’s caring way.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Kissing a Toad


In that hour before dawn
when birds rise, chill with certainty and song;
happy people sleep on
dreaming scenes, so warm, of yesterday.

Stepping out to back yard;
creeping down garden path
silently, obscene blot on townscape.
In that hour gardeners shuffle to the potting shed,
brew a cuppa, think of pricking out;
sitting, wrapped in blanket,
damning expired lamp, striking a match for candle-glow:
I settle, brimming airs with early birds.

Slowly turning pages to your words,
poring over flickering poems,
insight’s assured in waxen glow,
as birdsong brews, crescendos to first light.

Padding soft along the fence, a cat
pauses aloft, in finest view,
wish-fulfilling his plan this stalking-day:
the bird table.

A tired owl tu-whits a final call,
as morning rises cool in certain damp.
Stamping final pages of his verse
I close the book, too satisfied to muse.

Returning to a house now warm, alive,
I size a frog – or toad – so huge and still
and contemplate the absence of fat words;
or hopping rhyme; sun’s rising consonance,
or image brash as day.

It’s breakfast-time for routine’s chores,
when nothing more will mew or softly prowl.

Full day bursts on my mind and now
no muse stops at my pen or plays
as every dawn and every night
and every fattened day crescendos in:
my toad – one day my prince –
will stride indoors.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Journeyman 2005

JOURNEYMAN 2005  Wendy Webb

A hard time we had of it, our Annus Horribilis, 2005.
This was no royal condescension into the muddy depths of divorce.
though it was the common touch, the common man.

A bloody time we had of it, aborting early
before we had time to scribble New Year’s Resolutions;
dirges of foreign women and children lost,
dancing mud-sodden plagues of Tsunami.

On the third day we sealed our tomb of hope,
as faces grew like postage stamps on walls,
as ships were dumped like driftwood on mud roads,
as highways bladderwracked to cities lost
in the Kingdom of the Dead.

No tears were left unshed before the Babe of Bethlehem had fled
the massacre of infants, cradled safe in pyramids,
beneath the Sphinx with Mona Lisa smile.
The Nile, the Delta floods could not grieve more
fertility in buckets, filled each day,
in wave on wave of giving to the poor
and more, to the ends of the earth.

Much more, we raised three trees to grieve a pope
who faded, as his eyes grew ripe with pain,
who kissed hard tarmac dust of suffering
and gathered paper planes of live TV.

A hard time we had every day, though we forget
dull torture of new wars, rumours of wars,
and old wars – grieving yet – a sea of pain
that could not flood heaven’s portals with fresh tears.

We grieved for 9/11 and for 7/7
and tourists fled to paradise in hell.
We barely drank, half-naked, Beslan’s youth
before the truth’s Big Easy stormed a tide
of mud-soaked dust to flood the Crystal Sea;
the shores of Xanadu to hurricane lamps of dreams.

But was this death or birth,
the racing earth, in flights of rumoured plague?
Flee to the hills, the hills, where mountains quake
and fail when – pray – the winter falls too soon.

Then, when the cup of suffering – all dregs -
is drained, and earth, a staggering, drunken man,
lies wasted in the hangover of dawn:
this birth, this death, this final dispensation
at a highway’s crossroads in the morning light;
sweeping, sweeping, leaving dust.

Inspired by T S Eliot ‘Journey of the Magi’

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Installing a snofa


A SNOFA, I am sure you know,
is really such a dream;
the inbuilt speakers grow and grow
much greater than they seem.

All houses need a Snofa port
that soon will lounge around,
until that first great gasping snort
a metre from the ground.

Supposing yours a female home
- no installation’s there.
A Snofa’s man’s best friend alone,
reclining anywhere.

Once fed and watered, any man,
with Snofa and TV,
will up controls, jam, rave, he can
snore Band Aid most loudly.

So take this Snofa warning well,
no sofa has a snore
until a man’s install-primed bell
is full and asks no more.

Note: SNOFA (or SNORFA) – Snoring Nasal Oriface (Reclining) Furniture Aid.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Hope Springs Eternal

HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL (Villanelle)  Wendy Webb

The world blooms less, my friend, when you are gone:
cold breath an icy morning in damp shade,
for in full warmth I bask where fair love shone.

Your absence as the wind, a screaming wrong
that leaves storm vegetation’s trail unmade.
The world blooms less, my friend, when you are gone.

I rest upon late evening sun, so strong
and certain that each dawn is newly laid,
for in full warmth I bask where fair love shone.

As greening spring, I grieve you, spent and prone,
plant autumn bulbs: dream-pots will not degrade;
the world blooms less, my friend, when you are gone.

Weak winter growth shoots hope, though quite alone,
while quiet seasons wait and roots unbraid,
for in full warmth I bask where fair love shone.

None dig on frosty mornings, bend for one
faint snowdrop, where love’s riot will not fade.
The world blooms less, my friend, when you are gone,
for in full warmth I bask where fair love shone.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Florence Blooms


He swept up works of art from off the ground,
ran fast and left but one that could be found.
We stood, immobile tourists, all around
and watched no strong arm of the law confound.

Much later, small road-sweeping vans crept in…
slow and municipal, the public bin.
As pavement art grew, trading night to win
the prize, as public purse-strings entered in.

The city came alive to blooming lights,
a fleur-de-lys of music, colours, sights.
Rich gastronomic scenes played freedom’s rights
and Firenze exhaled sweetest perfumed flights.

Note: Florence means ‘flower’ and the symbol of the city is the fleur-de-lys, or lily.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Floral tributes


My sweet is like a red carnation
delivered, full of optimism.
Presenting an upright bunch, it says
in floriography:
‘my heart aches for you.’
I’ll return a scented handkerchief
and narcissus, ‘stay sweet as you are.’

Why did my love send yellow sweet briar?
Now my love-lies-bleeding.
Misreading my sweet bright petals
for yellow: ‘egotism.’

I will not swoon, I’ll return jonquils:
‘love me and return my affection.’
He’ll be mortified his prickly briar
read sadly: ‘love in decline.’
Dare I wear sad forget-me-nots,
or – like the hero – will it sweep him away?
He must be mine, I will remember the vine,
send him ivy ‘Poetica.’

His bunch arrived, but pointed down,
I fainted all that day,
till I read ‘perfected loveliness’
was the message of white camellias.
That evening he sent azaleas,
wrapped around with honeysuckle.
I read him true, blushed white to pink;
his message: ‘save yourself for me.’
He’s climbed my bustle and crinoline form
with ‘generous love and devotion.’

My mother, dear, said ‘Candytuft’
was a suitably prim reply.
‘Indifference,’ indeed, from her maybe;
I sent the sweetest almond.

His retort? Rose, Lord Penzance:
his pert bunch played with me.
My bodice tight, my basque constricts,
could he think my ‘love in decline?’
Giggling, the parlour maid loosened my ties
at my earlier ‘stupidity.’

Symbology was full of thorns,
would our love flower to holding hands?
I stroked cyclamen, gazed wanly abroad in: ‘resignation and goodbye.’

My love sent ‘spirited’ freesia,
pale lilies: ‘pure and sweet.’
Decorated with ‘baby’s breath’
and iris: ‘my compliments.’

My love is mine no longer,
for when I sent a rose: ‘true love,’
the florist arranged it with mignonette:

‘Your qualities surpass your charms.’

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Diamonds on the Soul


Play, dulcimer, upon my mind and bring
the strings of Paradise in fire and ice,
then Xanadu will rise from pleasure’s ring
and words, as drunken honey-dew, suffice.

The strings of Paradise, in fire and ice,
come trembling as a pool beside a shore
and words, as drunken honey-dew, suffice
to mirror dark or light for evermore.

Come, trembling as a pool beside a shore:
a thousand circling gulls splash – break the spell,
to mirror dark or light for evermore.
One seagull on a rock-cold living hell.

A thousand circling gulls – splash – break the spell,
in phantom fragments lovely forms dissolve.
One seagull on a rock-cold living hell,
no Kubla Khan can firm to dull resolve.

In phantom fragments, lovely forms dissolve:
wings of a dove, a cottage by a lake.
No Kubla Khan can firm to dull resolve
where passing mirrors flow, form surfing wake.

Wings of a dove – a cottage by a lake.
Rise, mirage Grasmere’s cut and polished prose,
where passing mirrors flow, form surfing wake:
wet diamonds dancing jewels on dreams composed.

Rise, mirage, Grasmere’s cut and polished prose
- sleep’s harp-soft moments when bright angels wing.
Wet diamonds dancing jewels on dreams composed…
lost choruses deep-sleeping poets sing.

Play, dulcimer, upon my mind and bring
sleep’s harp-soft moments when bright angels wing.
Then Xanadu will rise from pleasure’s ring:
lost choruses deep-sleeping poets sing.

Sunday, 6 February 2011


COASTING  Wendy Webb

Such sky
such air
such light
such ploughed-up mud
all wrenched across
this county,
Spread as manure
or stubble, such
a spread of canvas
fit for chrome,
for Constable’s fine head.
Such Haywain vistas
such a lack of land,
such prodding crows
such seagulls
flocked like sheep.
Such neat, such
ordered mess
of mud imploding
on the car.
Such cruising splashes
mudscreens Turneresque
as smearing earth.
Such Monet light, such
air such sky
such oohs and aahs,
such absent Haystack
stretched across
bare wood.
Such Temeraire, such tug
such barren brush
so rare so gone
as air imploding
light on land

and not a crag
and not a mount
in sight
nor shag of autumn
shadowing inland
nor starlings drifting
gardens, pecking
crumbs of riotous
shades of black.
Not paper shades
nor pastel wash
nor soaked nor
stretched nor taped.
No oohs no aahs
no echoing ravines.
No shades of anything
but air but light
but land but
such bare earth.
Impressions such
as Sunrise
such as sky,
such lily pads
of Monet clods.
Such double-dig
where air and light
and sky breasts
oohs and aahs
of nothing;
not a mountain
on dull sod.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Come into the Teashop, Maud


I told him of the lady
who wanted fine romance.
She wished for wining, dining;
he led her a song and dance.
I told him how she led him
into a garden bower.
His hayfever was shocking,
their first date: somewhat sour.

I told him of a dandy
that put her dress to shame.
His scarves and hankies – handy –
when she sneezed just the same.
I told him how he led her,
fast, up the garden path
into a stifling tearoom;
iced buns and wasp-sting’s wrath.

I told him of a couple
on a park bench – fifty years!
She giggled at the romance;
he stifled aches and tears.
I told him, so he heeded,
and wooed me safe indoors
with wining, dining, sneezing
and giggling, stinging chores.

Inspired by Love, S T Coleridge.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Clifftops, Gorleston


High on the cliffs, following the Lowestoft sign
from Yarmouth, parking along a mile
of beach road, straight as a seagull’s aim,
residences relax to the view.
Dog-owners enjoy the close-mown grass and paths
as disabled buggies pass by slowly.

The beach café, signed, sits beneath,
with homely red-tiled roof;
early bathers float in perfect calm.
The sun rises steadily, as clouds shadow the ocean’s
grey to ink to sand.
Rolling, gentle waves stretch at full tide.
The breath of breaking gravel grazes peace,
chill breeze on tranquil cliffs in perfect shine.

The panorama of the bay is breached
by nothing but faint liners against pale sky;
while sticks stand sentry – far-off Scroby Sands –
as windfarms always have planed Norfolk scenes.

Industrial clutter marks the harbour mouth
of Yarmouth and downtown to Gorleston’s bay.
The beach is littered gently with bright sticks
of holidaymakers and windbreaks’ earliest stakes.

Dogs splash for balls and surf below,
leap-race the surf as wild and free
as children splashing sand to crash the waves.
The bus routes by along the road,
routine as quiet suburbia.

Beyond the furthest stretch of eyes or ears,
one wind turbine stands proud, landmarking Lowestoft.
Where lies the busy town?
The Broad? The concrete streets,
the broadest shopping scene?
Sit here, along the cliff path;
wheelchair-bound or buggy-free,
stretched straight from die to die:
from Gorleston to fair Lowestoft,
pause and stare.
Sit for a gentle sip, infusion’s scene,
then to the café for an English tea.