Sharyn Owen | Sharyn Owen Poet
Sharyn Owen was born and bred in Devon. She left school at sixteen and had several jobs before settling on teaching as a career. She now divides her time between Yorkshire and Sark in the Channel Islands.
Poet, poetry, Hope Chest, author, sharyn, owen, Sark,
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Hope Chest

After the grandmother died they lifted

the creaky lid of her ancient Hope Chest

and found 

a layette for a lost child,

Devon violets pressed

into a recipe book

written in many hands,

with cures for wounds and worms,

relief for dropsy or the pleurisy.

A vellum-bound Psalter

held a scrap of silk

embroidered with a single word

    “Love”   in red.

Golf day

On a golf day

you rise and say

“This weather’s OK

to play.”

From my warm bed

I hear the wind

and rain and say

“Yes, dear.”


On a golf day

you rise and shine,

clean your shoes,

cook a bit of bacon

(at the last minute),

forget your flask,

look for your hat

and that’s that

for a few hours.


On a golf day

you have that far-away look.

No good asking about


or what to cook.

“Oh, anything.” you say,

“We haven’t had fish

for a while….”

as you disappear off

at a rate of knots

with a fat smile.

Time Taken to Smell Roses…

8.10 am   Feed cats: make tea;

Wash, dress, sort laundry

Have breakfast; brush teeth,

Washing on; stroke one cat


8.30 am  Remind husband about GP:

Take son to station.


8.50 am  Empty dishwasher; fill dishwasher


9.00 am  Put on jumper, mac and wellies;

Look for roses in garden


9.20 am  Go to garden centre; buy rose plants


10.00 m  Plant roses


10.30 m  Look in gardening encyclopaedia.


10.45 m  Go to garden centre; buy concentrated manure and compost.


11.00 m  Re-plant roses in full sunlight and rich soil


11.30 m  Search on www for Feng Shui in gardens; stroke other cat


2.30 pm  Wearing galoshes and sou-wester

Move roses.


3.30 pm  Go to garden centre; buy aphid and black spot spray 


4.00 pm  Feed cats; have mug of tea

Read aphid spray instructions


4.30 pm  Go to garden centre; buy spraying equipment

Face mask and boiler suit


5.00 pm  Read instructions on spraying equipment while:

emptying dishwasher

drying washing

checking emails

peeling potatoes

reading post

frying meat and onions

de-frosting desserts

stroking a cat


  5.18 pm Spray rose plants: Stand looking at rose plants.


  6.00 pmHave shower


  6.39 pmPut dinner in slow cooker.

Go to supermarket; buy roses


  7.15 pm Put roses in vase. Smell roses.

They have no fragrance.


  7.30 pm Write memo for tomorrow: magnet to fridge.

“Buy rose pot-pourri.”

Afternoon Nap

Your little hands lie softly at your side as you nap

I stroke one gently to waken you


noticing how much it is like my mother’s

and her mother’s too, and mine

your distaff story

women whose hands were used to work

who held the cleft staff to spin flax or wool.


Gran’s hands were peasant’s hands,

pale and washed from overwork 

and wiping tears.

Washerwoman’s whorls

of skin sat on her knuckles.


Mum’s hands always knitted or sewed

never still – until the last time.

Her hand, at my eye-level on the white sheet

feeling cool: I was too late.


You wake and smile.

Your warm fingers grip mine.

Charge of the Grandchildren

Half a league, half a league,

Half a league onward,

Alfred, Lord Tennyson.


Half a loaf, half a loaf,

half a loaf gone;

into the depths of the fridge

charge the grandchildren.

Their tummies are rumbling,

the poor little dears.

They haven’t been fed for a couple of years.


“Can we go for a picnic?” they wistfully ask.

I hastily think where I last saw the flask

while they get out the cheese

and the pickle and ham

and they roll up their sleeves

as I hunt for the jam


and the big bags of crisps

I so carefully stashed.

and go searching for sun-cream 

and light summer macs.


“Shall we take all these flapjacks?”

I hear someone cry.

“Good idea! I answer

suppressing a sigh

and write on my list to remember to buy

a shed-load of biscuits and bread

and  ice-cream.

And they’re bubbling round

getting ready to go


and the tide’s on the turn

and the sun’s on the sea

and we’re having a picnic,

it seems.


Red, White and Blue

Say “Red, White and Blue” to me –

I feel a pinprick in my knee.

It’s Coronation Day, June 1953.


Mum sewed me into my red, white and blue

crepe paper costume,

but she was distracted

by the need for elastic

to hold my pom-pom hat.


And when I sat to eat the curly

fish-paste sandwiches for tea

a pin stuck in me

but I did not cry.


When the Queen sat on her throne

in her fancy dress

wearing her hat of rubies, diamonds

and sapphires

did she feel  a sharp prick of anxiety

or was she stoical

like me

and did she not cry?