The Centre for New Writing at Leicester University has commissioned a number of poems and pieces of fiction for a project called Sole2Soul. The work is based on an exhibition of William Falkner's shoe workshop in the town of Market Harborough, currently exhibited in the town's Museum.

I visited the exhibition and wandered around the very picturesque town. I chose to write my poem about a dog who is let loose in Market Harborough and set it in the late 1800s. In a way it is the dog who tells the story (or tale ... or tail) of the types of materials and shoes and boots that were made in the workshop and worn by the people.


On the turnpike roads coming into town
carriages rattle   steel over stone
rain stops and starts   a lame dog follows a scent
skirting around pedestrians  he avoids the boot kick
runs across Church Street   cringes low
then  doubles back to Falkner's open door.
Drawn into the workroom
by smells of glue and tannin he hears
the clicker's knives   honed sharp.
Amongst   uppers   soles  heels and lasts
a warning shout sends him scuttling
round the benches   zig-zagging out
onto the street again.
At the Three Swans he stops to scratch
dismounted huntsmen walk the same track stomping over gravel
their boots once waxed and polished
now scuffed and muddied.
Down Adam and Eve Street
hobnails clatter over loose cobbles
the rain cascades  the dog takes cover.