Decades ago, Dorothy Burrows taught Drama and wrote short plays and the occasional short story. She won a few awards. After years of working in a museum, retirement is enabling her to enjoy creative writing again. Walking in the countryside often gives her ideas for poems, especially haiku. She attends poetry classes tutored by Elaine Baker.
Tipping out an old brown suitcase,
I find you have left me your skirt.
It was a best skirt too: worn mainly
for village fetes, Sunday School shows,
set-menu dinners on coach holidays
to Ilfracombe, Lyme Regis, Inverness.
Pure polyester; so easy for you to throw
in the twin tub, your rock ’n roll spin-dryer
then hang out with dolly pegs on the line
amongst rhubarb and goosegogs to dry.
Once, sea breezes whipped up and blew it
across our field full of Friesian bullocks;
you battled through grass and cow pats
with a long yard-broom to bring it back
to scrub again with Lux soap flakes
and typical feistiness in the scullery sink
before wringing it, pegging it out afresh
with three extra pegs for good luck.
Your skirt held fast to the line this time
whirling, flapping in the Westerly wind;
bright, loud, agitated, strong; an exotic bird
crash-landing on a patch of marshland
at Lancashire’s edge. Your skirt’s patterns
in green, orange, blue, look vivid even now
against the grey; its synthetic sheen is still
silky smooth forty odd years on. Let’s face it,
this skirt was not worn much. It wasn’t done
for folk like you to shock in-laws, neighbours,
and the village set with a flounce of urban chic;
But did it ever look chic on you? Is that why you
left it in the case? So I would wash it, wear it;
breeze into arty parties, like you never could?