Something Old, Something New

entry picture

You send me back my wedding dress

20 years too late…

wrapped not in finest tissue

confetti tumbling from its folds

nor draped across a lover’s arms

regret pressed to every empty seam

not folded at all

but jammed like stinking gym shorts

into this case, too small

compressed, flattened

obligatory bow adrift

sad reminder of all that was.


An ivory dress

shot through with stress.

A distressed, oppressed dress;

lace married to synthetic silk

nothing  more,

nothing less.


I sift through memories

forage for joy,

find only anger,

 a wall of timed expectation,

simmering rage,

vented on the bride

who dared sing

‘Big Spender’,

stone sober

to 100 guests

cos someone asked.


A hundred guests.

a hundred friends

unruly as the sea,

not to be diverted

sandbagged, dammed,

blissfully unknowing

of what their gift

would be,

the crashing tides of fury

they set free.


“So let me get straight to the point”

just what is a girl to do with such a dress?


Consider trying on

just to prove what she already knows?


Consider using as mobile duster?

If only she could learn to cartwheel…


Consider letting dust reign,

Miss Haversham style,

upon the wreckage of her life?


Something borrowed,

something blue -

can something old

be turned to new?


Consider dress alteration,

memories adjusted, taken out

redesigned and redefined

“Say wouldn’t you like to know what’s going on in my mind?”


Consider wearing to Tudor,

fishnets to fish tail

making light of life

with friends

knowing full well that

as doors shut and bolts slide

no-one will be calling last orders

or serving time.


(The Tudor is a WOL venue and excellent pub in the NW of England)


◄ Poverty Is

Human Nature ►


Profile image

Stephen Pass

Wed 16th Mar 2011 09:48

Hi Isobel, it was great to see you the other night and your comparing was great, maybe a new line? I really liked this - the sadness is there but it isn't dwelt upon - there's lots of twists and turns and questions and, once again, I love your use of song - hey Big Spender! - I'd have liked to have heard more of that too! Take care, hopefully see you next month down the Tudorxxxxxx

Profile image

chris yates

Thu 10th Mar 2011 16:46

excellent so much in this poem stands out to me,I sift through memories,forage for joy,find only anger, consider wearing it at the tudor tonight well done!

Profile image

melanie coady

Wed 9th Mar 2011 09:41

lovely hun x

Profile image


Tue 8th Mar 2011 22:17

Hi Isobel,
Many thanks for your comments on my entry! Just read this,and have to agree with Francine;"regret pressed to every seam" sums it up,yet there's strength and defiance here too! Nice one!x

Profile image

Cate Greenlees

Tue 8th Mar 2011 12:14

Whimsy, nostalgia, humour, all wrapped up in one poignant package.
A wonderful poem Isobel which takes what could have been a horrifically self destructing incident and turned it into a thing of worth.
Well done you!
Cate xx

Profile image

Elaine Booth

Sun 6th Mar 2011 21:47

Looking forward to this live, Isobel. Fantastic poem - perfect performance poetry! xxx

Profile image

Cynthia Buell Thomas

Sat 5th Mar 2011 17:59

I haven't heard it, but I love the page version. Situations that have pathos can turn on a word to bathos. Perhaps that what reading it aloud does, by the intonations. Real humour is always edged with sharp truths. I think this work is super and so relate-able.

Profile image

Gus Jonsson

Fri 4th Mar 2011 18:52

Isobel I just love this poem... IMHO of course I think Its the very best you have written.

No matter trala

Love you, love the poem to bits xx

Gus xx

<Deleted User> (7164)

Fri 4th Mar 2011 12:13

I agree with Steve, the listening makes the poem come alive. I found it difficult to read because it didn't hold my attention for long enough to reach the end. (not sure if the comment here is slightly relevant to the content)?

Love the audio Isobel with your unique style and voice :-)

Profile image

Andy N

Fri 4th Mar 2011 08:12

reading the comments below on this one (I'm a little late by the look of things) - I got the sadness and the humor in fairly equal doses on the piece... I particularly like the intro 'You send me back my wedding dress

20 years too late…

wrapped not in finest tissue

confetti tumbling from its folds' but enjoyed all of it.

Profile image


Fri 4th Mar 2011 06:57

Thanks for your comment Francine. I would prefer to go with Greg's defiant. Bitter isn't a pleasant word, for me - it tends to go with twisted - which I don't think I am. I would agree with sad though. x

Profile image


Thu 3rd Mar 2011 23:18

I haven't listened yet, but I can imagine this coming across as more humorous performed. For me, on the page it reads as bitter and sad.

The line 'regret pressed to every empty seam' says it all.
I like the ending too from 'Consider...' on.

Profile image


Thu 3rd Mar 2011 18:41

Thanks for the comments all.

Yes, I thought it was a bit sad too, Dave, which worried me cos I wanted to do a funny performance piece. I've performed it once though and the humour seems to come across more than the pathos.

Greg - you would love my Big Spender - Shirley Bassey has nothing on it!

I doubt I'll ever know how to cartwheel - could never manage it as a child. Those attending the Tudor next week may be in for another treat though :))

Ray you may be right about the second verse. It was a meant to be a lighthearted piece - not serious poetry. It went down well in Middleton - I think because it was easy to grasp and something anyone could identify with. That's the kind of thing I like to write about. x

Profile image

Dave Carr

Thu 3rd Mar 2011 18:11

Very good. Quite sad too.
See you at the Tudor then.
Perhaps you could learn to cartwheel by then.

Profile image

Ray Miller

Thu 3rd Mar 2011 08:32

Good poem, Isobel, I liked the dust reign/rain Miss Haversham style and the Big Spender references - maybe you could make more of that.2nd verse rhymes trying too hard perhaps?Compressed, flattened - that's very good too.

Profile image

Anthony Emmerson

Thu 3rd Mar 2011 01:53

Gulp! Scarily good (in a good way!)


Profile image

Greg Freeman

Wed 2nd Mar 2011 22:28

Powerful, defiant, triumphant. Would have liked to have heard your full version of Big Spender!

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message