Olga Dermott-Bond - Warwick Poet Laureate 2010 – 2011Warwick Poet Laureate 2010 - 2011

We are delighted that Olga Dermott-Bond has been crowned Poet Laureate.

Olga has been writing for pleasure since she was a girl...  Originally from Northern Ireland, she now lives in Warwick - she is married and has a young daughter.

She read for an M.A. in English Literature at St. Andrews University.  As a teacher of Drama and English at Rugby High School, she loves the creativity of her job!

Having dabbled in writing short scripts over the last few years, she has recently returned to poetry. Her poems are concerned with a wide range of themes; many of them explore ideas of memory and change.


A visit to the shoe shop


The Night Train To Mombasa

The Curator

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A visit to the shoe shop

You were looking for
New Shoes
(The latest wedding is in two weeks)
Reluctant faces passed us by
(school starts tomorrow)

…I thought first
of my red shoes
my sister’s blue shoes
then the excitement of the machine
That measured your feet.
Gentle pressure of an assistant’s hands
The tape sliding coldly over,
The green box,
Tissue paper,
Little figures,
(One with a hat)
My sudden impatience with scuffs
“Can I wear them home?”

You instead
Didn’t want to let your old shoes go
You didn’t want them to feel left out
They were your reliable allies

I felt sad
At having cast those old shoes aside
So carelessly.
Another reckless gesture
Standing on toes
Stamping over feelings
Only realising too late
What I had given up,

Having under estimated
The comfort
Of old friends.


The rain persists this morning
and I dreamt of you last night.
I don’t have to ask why –
the letters we wrote rot quietly
in my wardrobe back at my parent’s house.

Home – it trickles down the windows.
Mistakes puddle and collect on the sill;
memories snatched, muddled
don’t leave me until
long after lunch.

This is Irish rain. Unrelenting.
Drumming its fingers, whilst turning its head away.

The dampness smells of regret
and escape.

Faint thoughts of you cling still.
They won’t evaporate.
The afternoon is spent hopelessly
sifting through debris of the past.

What is past and there,
What is left now, here.

But I still don’t know what to keep.


The Night Train To Mombasa

We washed the Serengeti dust
out of each other’s hair,
watched in delight as
small continents of brown water
swirled and jolted away
leaving us laughing.

Already we had travelled far,
trundled and flitted,
seen the huge sky’s subtle curve and bend
stretched and reaching, as impossible as a giraffe’s neck.

Already stood still on the equator
while the world spun,
had imagined it coiling
seaming up the earth,
the invisible line that bound us together.

Now, we were wrapped up against chaos,
Corsetted in second class luxury
we couldn’t afford.
White tables stretched out
As ivory blankets,
knives glinted brilliantly
in Colonial light.

And then in the dark
we slept soundly
as the night train,
groaning and shuddering in old age
fought with the dusty track,
muttering and stuttering,
whispered hidden promises
of Zanzibar.

For Jo, Susan and Shana


The Curator

I am the curator

You are intricate.
Beautiful from afar

I am beginning to see you in perspective.

Up close: woven small patterns
Tirelessly detailed

I’ve looked from different angles

You are abstracted in colour
But so real you seem to jump and move.

The room is cold and frigid.

Curving in new directions,
Bending with the light, you laugh

The silence is hard and taut

You are part of this picture,
That is crammed with life.

Endless hours

A body of work that is caught up
In the here and now

Awkward, clumsy, confined within blank walls

You are prolific
In your own life.

I want to know how to do
More than just watch.