Croome Plumlines poem
Each month for the duration of the exhibition we will feature the poems written for this project by different groups.
For October we are featuring the poems written by
Two White Feathers
In my best hobble skirt and weekday hat,
I march along the high street.
With eyes straight
I don’t see the list of missing and dead.
Neatly pressed, plucked from the Sunday chicken,
Two white feathers nestle in an envelope,
The kind used to send
Gentle words to someone you love.
Shoulders back, in the sunlight
I’ll knock at Henry’s door.
Yes, two white feathers
For a coward like him.
And then I’ll go to my silent home
With the photographs draped in black.
I’ll take off my hat,
And stare at the wall, dry eyed.
GWENDOLINE: VOLUNTEER ARMY COOK
I’d a problem stirring the cooking pot,
(I’m not very tall, you see),
But now I stand on a wooden stool
A young officer made for me.
Daily his eyes laughed up at me
As I served him from the tea-cart.
With three spoonfuls of sugar
I stirred myself into his heart.
He asked me if I’d wait for him
When he went to the Dardanelles.
Today, they told me bad news;
A single teardrop wells.
We’ll never laugh together again.
The tears overflow. What can I do?
With every sweep of my spoon,
Bitterness seasons the stew.
I’m a war weary city girl, doing my best,
Now working a farm, the ultimate test.
Five in the morning, yawn and stretch,
Haul on cold wellies, milkers to fetch.
Daisy and Butterball leading the way,
Into their stalls and fresh racks of hay.
For the warmth of suburbia my memory lingers,
As I wash muddy udders, with frost frozen fingers.
But my country needs me, so I’ll endure my plight,
Protecting our home front, will help win this fight.
I’m Not Used to This
How am I to gather these fields of hay?
Before the autumn comes
I have only watched before
And made the tea
It has always been done
By my husband and my sons.
My sewing box waits
With an unfinished dress
I was planning to wear
When my family return
My husband and my sons.
I don’t cook for one
A slice of bread will do for me
And an apple fallen from the tree
How many men will fall?
Before my family return
My husband and my sons
I’m not used to this.
Margaret E Green
Opening of the Suitcase
Delving into memory's cupboard
Hauling the old dusty suitcase down
To taste my Grandmother's past
I leaf through
Worn sheet music and diaries
To find her
Gazing ahead wistfully
Rich coiled tresses
frame her warm open face..
'Roses are shining in Picardy in the hush of the silver dew' ..
Her daughter just born
Far from the trenches
She touches the keys lightly
As her long slender fingers carol
The well polished tune
Rapt family trill the chorus...
In these cascades
Her soul lost in
for a Peace
'Roses are flowering in Picardy but there's never a rose like you....
THE NIGHT SHELTER
A true family story from WW1
This cold December, my husband
and our children were huddled
around the hearth.
Listening to the far off bombing
from the enemy above.
Our large sturdy table sat in
I laid a heavy table-cloth across
its top. Then let it drop to the
We guided our children beneath
Whilst we guarded outside
in this darkened space.
Waiting for sleep to come.
A great explosion filled our ears.
A crash above our heads.
Silence came we climbed the
stairs. The roof was on my
I shuddered what might have been?
(Grandmother Gwendoline Startin)