For this tenth poetry space workshop I would like you to read or listen to Robert Browning’s poem My Last Duchess and then write a monologue .
A good way in would be to think of a situation where you would be talking to one person about another person.Or if you prefer talking to one person about an object or about an animal. In your poem I want it to be evident that the other person is asking questions but don’t have them speak directly.
This is my own attempt at this having just spotted an object of interest on my book shelf, a really old and worn copy of Rudyard Kipling’s Wee Wilie Winkie.
Next to the bible
Which book? The one next to the bible.
The red one? Okay I’ll get it down for you.
It’s very old and frail, so careful how you handle it.
How old is it? It’s dated 1910.
So be careful how you turn its delicate cream pages.
It’s an interesting book, not a first edition, no,
but look at the signature inside.
Clarrie C. Tomlins. When I found this I wanted more.
Wanted to know who she was. And between the pages
there’s a faded browning at the edges, piece of paper
with her name more formally described.
Clara Colston Tomlins. A pass for physiology in the 1913
University of Bristol exams. Over a hundred years
and that scrap is still inside that book. Why?
That tells you something. Don’t you think?
Yes you’re right. This book was treasured,
for a lifetime. Or carefully passed through generations.
Until there was no one left to care.
What happened next is unknown.
In 1913, she would have had such hope,
an educated woman, privileged to be getting a degree.
But 1913, think about it. A year away from war.
Her life was bound to change.
You don’t think you’ll take it. It’s not your thing.
You know I think I’m kind of relieved.
It belongs here on this shelf.
I’ll keep it safe. For Clarrie.
I’m off on holiday so I’m giving you a bit longer to mull this one over. You have until Saturday 13th May. Then send them in if you would like comments to firstname.lastname@example.org