Cosy Button Warehouse

Well I made it! I did my first reading post Covid, post tibia plateau fracture. It was at a lovely venue in Macclesfield, a very cool and cosy bar, which I was easily able to get into at the rear entrance, because there was a good handrail up the five steps. Once in, the floor was level and there was space to move around between the tables. There was one loo, which was accessible.

The Poems and Pints night is run by Joy Winkler, a very talented Macclesfield-based writer. She was not able to be there last night, so had asked John Lindley to step in, He did an excellent job. There was a lovely appreciative audience in, including (and this is always lovely to see) a group of friends who were not poets, but had come to listen and enjoy an evening out. There were also some poet friends of mine there so it was great to have a catch up.

It felt so good to be sharing with a live audience again. I really love reading, and lap up the nice comments that come my way. I even sold a few books – perhaps because I’d decided to do a sale price to celebrate my first time back guesting at a live event. I had to read sitting down, but people didn’t seem to mind.

Because the event was held at a building connected to the history of buttons, I read two of my poems inspired by buttons. This is one of the two that were published in Hearth:

The Button Tin

Finding the right button to replace

the lost was her task for me,

when she sat with a lap of mending.


Sorting through them, I learned

the lexis of shank and buttonhole,

their histories, how few were alike.


Real pearl ones threaded together,

prized like jewels; some of grandma’s

ornate metal ones were nested


in a rusty pastille tin, baby’s eyes,

glittering, too special to use,

peeping from their cotton beds.


My fingers stirred the buttons,

They clattered and sang to me,

kept me happy while she sewed. 


She darned our garments, replaced

lost buttons, sucked the thread

to stiffen it for her darting needle.


When I was five, she let me into

the womanly secrets of wrapping

cotton three times round the stitch.


Buttons sewed this way stay put.

I earned her rebuke by covering

my school skirt with multi-coloured


discs from her button box. Swirling

as they clicked and sparkled, I

couldn’t see that I had ruined it.

Angela Topping





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2 responses to “Cosy Button Warehouse

  1. I recently taught my son about wrapping the shank…