Dulled Sevastopol cannons
slumber among wide-open
red and orange marigolds.
I stumble over moss-draped slate
protruding like vertebrae
beside the flooded quarry
abandoned a century ago.
Facts about the Falkner exhibit from my research at Market Harborough Museum.
As if pulled by linen thread he was drawn
to the shop, past traders’ shouts and bleating sheep.
Leather essence wrapped itself around him,
each breath a blend of comfort and sharp nostalgia.
He ran his hand along the rack of lasts,
savoured the mellowed beech, remembered
every stage: selecting morocco,
calf or kid; checking for signs of warble fly;
laying it out on the willow cutting board.
By instinct he inspected the uppers
of a pair of newly-finished shoes – the smell,
their feel. He longed to step through the open door
into the yard, move among the bales of horsehide.
Instead he tucked the shoes under his coat
and strode towards The Swan.
Once I had written my first draft, I switched from pen and paper to laptop and typed it up, and immediately started to move words, phrases and lines to create a second draft.
The photos in these posts show sections of the Falkner exhibit. The recreated workshop is crammed with lasts, tools, and a range of items used in shoemaking.
Other exhibitions in the refurbished museum include the Hallaton Treasure, 17th century toys, and a display about the corset factory.
From the information I’d gathered, I made initial notes for my poem – words, phrases ideas to include. The story of the thief remained the focus. I realised I had a few gaps in my research so checked dates, materials and methods to ensure authenticity. The first draft emerged – rough and incomplete – as I distilled my notes and ideas into the shape of the poem.
I was delighted to be commissioned to write a poem in response to the Falkner Boot and Shoe exhibit at Market Harborough Museum and enjoyed my visit there, taking photos and making notes. I was given access to a slender folder of documents about the Falkner business. This included a newspaper article about the theft of a pair of shoes in 1890 which gave me the initial idea for the focus of my poem. Once home, I researched online for information about the process of shoemaking.
Information about the Sole2Soul project can be found at: http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/english/creativewriting/centre/sole2soul-narrate-curate-rejuvenate