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.