Clothes that escaped the Great War

by Patricia McCarthy

Not the familiar ghosts: the shaggy dog of Thorne Waste
that appeared only to children, the chains clanking
from the Gyme seat, nor the black barge at Waterside.

These were the most scary, my mother recalled: clothes
piled high on the wobbly cart, their wearers gone.
Overalls caked in dung, shirts torn from the muscle strain

of heavy hemp sacks, socks matted with cow-cake
from yards nearby, and the old horse plodding, on the nod.
Its uneven gait never varied whether coming from farms

where lads were collected like milk churns, or going back
with its harvest of dungarees scented by first fags,
notes in pockets to sweethearts; boots with laces undone,

jerseys knitted – purl, plain – around coke fires.
And the plod, plod, quadruple time. Then the catch
in the plod from the clank of loose shoes, from windgalls

on the fetlocks of the horse, each missed beat on the lane
a missed beat in a heart. As a small girl she could see –
at their windows – the mothers pressing memories

too young for mothballs into lavender bags, staring out
propaganda posters, dreading the shouts of telegraph boys
from lines of defence and attack. As the harness creaked

and the faithful old horse clopped forward and back,
the lads were new-dressed in the years never to be had,
piled higher than high over the shafts of the buckling cart.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

More about the Poetry Society…

Tweets @PoetrySociety

"I consider rhythm to be a nonverbal (pre-linguistic) narrative force" Read a Q & A with American poet Phillis Levin bit.ly/LevinQA Book now to see Phillis Levin & Mark Ford read at the Poetry Café 22nd March bit.ly/InTownLevin

test Twitter Media - "I consider rhythm to be a nonverbal (pre-linguistic) narrative force"

Read a Q & A with American poet Phillis Levin https://t.co/Gii9jABixL 

Book now to see Phillis Levin & Mark Ford read at the Poetry Café 22nd March https://t.co/Qw2pHbrBvt https://t.co/0kc7FesUCo

2 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition "Add a sprinkle of my moonjack spice to the soda pop - from Sinéad Morrissey’s new commission ‘Charles Manson Auditions for The Monkees, 1965’ 20th March, Kings Place bit.ly/npc40anniversa…

test Twitter Media - 2 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition 

"Add a sprinkle of my moonjack spice to the soda pop - 
from Sinéad Morrissey’s new commission ‘Charles Manson Auditions for The Monkees, 1965’

20th March, Kings Place https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/a0cAXNjgx2
test Twitter Media - 2 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition 

"Add a sprinkle of my moonjack spice to the soda pop - 
from Sinéad Morrissey’s new commission ‘Charles Manson Auditions for The Monkees, 1965’

20th March, Kings Place https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/a0cAXNjgx2

2 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition "I, Seraphina, here, in larky France, its mellifluent core." from Geraldine Clarkson’s new commission ‘Daubière Nights’ Balcony seats now on sale! 20th March, Kings Place bit.ly/npc40anniversa…

test Twitter Media - 2 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition 

"I, Seraphina, here, in larky France, its mellifluent core." 
from Geraldine Clarkson’s new commission ‘Daubière Nights’

Balcony seats now on sale! 20th March, Kings Place https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/7zxgM0Ej5l
test Twitter Media - 2 days to go until the 40th anniversary event for the National Poetry Competition 

"I, Seraphina, here, in larky France, its mellifluent core." 
from Geraldine Clarkson’s new commission ‘Daubière Nights’

Balcony seats now on sale! 20th March, Kings Place https://t.co/CAyQRnXQtA https://t.co/7zxgM0Ej5l

I have a spare ticket if anyone wants to sit with me and @Jo_Bell £10.50 inc booking fee. twitter.com/PoetrySociety/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

not just skinriddingnot just snailful but wrap and tangletag and tug all feely with it love From Words the Turtle Taught Me by Susan Richardson, shortlisted for the 2018 Ted Hughes Award #TedHughesShortlist poetrysociety.org.uk/competitions/t…

test Twitter Media - not just skinriddingnot just snailful
but wrap and tangletag and tug
all feely with it
love

From Words the Turtle Taught Me by Susan Richardson, shortlisted for the 2018 Ted Hughes Award
#TedHughesShortlist
https://t.co/SZe1xrxwYK https://t.co/CfahkOYmzx

A little something I wrote about my poem "Interrogation" in @PoetrySociety twitter.com/PoetrySociety/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Today's picture: Lord Byron's wedding certificate #RomanticsPics Retweeted by The Poetry Society

test Twitter Media - RT @Wordsworthians: Today's picture: Lord Byron's wedding certificate #RomanticsPics https://t.co/1kGytM6LPh

Male and female writers’ media coverage reveals ‘marked bias’ amp.theguardian.com/books/2019/mar…

Thanks so much @youngpoetsnet for interviewing me and my fellow #TedHughesAward shortlisted poets - wonderful, all four of them. twitter.com/youngpoetsnet/… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Our next @OutSpokenLDN masterclass on 30th March will be exploring strangeness with the wonderful @r_vallen. Limited tickets left. @PoetrySociety twitter.com/outspokenldn/s… Retweeted by The Poetry Society