AWOL Responses for Week #11. 29 05 2020

AWOL Responses Week #11 29 05 2020


This week’s exercise was a bit different. Here’s a weblink for the Science Museum Group search page:

If you follow it then type in a word to search for (try ‘space’ – you’ll find images for everything from a child’s game to a space toilet). You can choose any word you like, in fact, you might choose two or more search words and link these through the images they produce. If you need a hand thinking of things to search for, here are a few:










A photograph, of people waiting to take a photograph by Jodi Glass

A photograph, of people waiting to take a photograph


A crowd, all holding cameras, waiting for the King.

Everyone brought their cameras, to remember the day

the young and the old, mingling on the pavement

waiting their turn, the street over, just had theirs,


excitement not yet shown, for waiting is another emotion.

Gripping tight so not to drop; memory keepers.

Ready to develop in dark rooms;


and while they wait, I, a journalist from the Daily Herald

looking for a by-line, on a unique day.

I took my chance, all in the hope it doesn’t get spiked;

and now this photo sits in a Bradford museum.

Jodi Glass


Chestnut Tapestry by Lotty

Chestnut Tapestry

Recently I have taken to unpacking the chestnut fabric of the tapestry of my life, trying to figure out when I started feeling incomplete and not sure if I belonged in my size 33 feet; and always it appears to lead me back to when I was fourteen. I began to put on a boy-crazy mask to hide who I really wanted to be for almost a decade. I put on a spectacular performance eventually even convincing myself that this was the true soul; that it must be home.

But deep inside I was mixed up, unhappy, my personality turning bitter-cold. In all honesty I was Alone. It felt like I was an imposter. I was living in someone else’s flesh and bone.


But then my early twenties came along. I started to think that this masquerade show couldn’t go on. along the lines of The Script that I spoke. Lines meaning less and tasting frivolous and stale. So gradually I began to strip and shed the overlay of sensitive skin as I realised what I felt wasn’t a sin, because long ago I had chucked the idea of religion into the bin, setting it alight, because I was tired of putting on a front – the good Catholic girl was just a stunt.


Now, these last few years, I have embraced who I am; for doing this I am giving myself a great deal of praise, while wondering what lies at the end of another end of this chestnut tapestry of my recent life.


‘Ayras’ patented tapestry. Part of the Morton Collection.


Guilt Trip  by Barry

Guilt Trip 

Occupational, situational. 

Button skills learned for the soul. 

Rational satchel and match making batch all. 

Within the therapist’s goal.


Work for the prison in which there’s the vision. 

Of rehab and cleansing the wrong.

Steam pressing sheets, locked away from the streets

As the prisoner works to the song. 


Of chain gangs and tilling the soil for unwilling. 

Repentance and time stolen still. 

For cracks of the whip and the punishment ship

To flatten and weaken the will. 


So sleep ’til the gruel and the shower room duel. 

And sometime your pardon will come. 

For freedom to beckon, the straight narrow reckon. 

And wake to the murderer’s drum. 



Amulet by Kathy Low


                       A scapular.

                       A mandrake root.

                       Byzantine coin,

                            worn flat by countless fingers.     

                            receiver of fears 

                            and a vector for smallpox. 

                            A futile remedy 

                            against plague and death.

                       The faith, dear gods,

                            the hard beliefs,

                            the solace

                            and the silent power of symbol.

Kathy Low

Very worn, saucer-shaped Byzantine coin used as an amulet against smallpox, produced in Asia Minor, 300-1450.


Smoky Sky by Peter Marshall

Smoky Sky

The wheel-tapper has satisfied his ears

and happy, told the driver his sounding.

The stoker shovelled coal, now sweats like tears,

takes restful swig of tea, stops heart pounding.


With ‘All aboard’, the platform guard does slam

last doors and place the whistle to his lips;

day’s duties done, homeward trudge for a dram

whilst couplings clink and stretch as train wheel slips.


Steam train pulls slowly over points with clack

and hiss and swish as metal rolls on rails.

To ensure all is well the guard peers back,

hopes nothing on his journey badly fails. 


Engine growls with power, smoke and cloud abound,

yellow and red glows in the place of grey.

Hiss and sigh as pistons force drive wheels round;

night train leaves King’s Cross, steams towards new day. 


Passengers settle gently in their seats,

excited now to leave London behind.

Edinburgh locomotive speeds its beats,

toddler rocked to sleep on lap doesn’t mind. 

2020 06 02 Peter Marshall

Poster – BR – ‘Service by Night’


Haiku by V. Rivers


A welcome rainburst

gives the Swannie Ponds heron

a look of triumph

V. Rivers

Swannie Ponds by V. Rivers


Images of the photographers, tapestry, amulet and railways are all used under a Creative Commons licence 4.0 from


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