Iceland

I wrote this poem as a spoken word piece, in response to this coronavirus pandemic, through the eyes of an elderly person who has lived through world war two.

Five hundred quid
Worked all my life for five hundred quid
Ooo, these Tena ladies are on offer
Worked my hands to the bone and my back to the knackers yard, I did
Funny times we live in, funny times
Corona-whatsit rampant, country in lockdown
Just like the war
Our big grown prime minister falling to the floor
Sick people in and out the revolving doors
Crying and dying on hospital floors
People telling me to stay indoors
Only so much of Piers Morgan I can take
And I’m bleeding sick of doing chores
Ooo look, choccy digestives, two for one fifty
Just like the war
But not living on a lump of cheese, a tin of spam and a packet of dried egg
Bring back rationing, it should be the law
All these feckin crazy people
Strippin shelves bare
Hoarding the toilet roll like they don’t care
About how others fare
Oh, I’ll have some of those
Rice pudding, fifty pence a tin
Its strange times, its mad times we’re in
Can’t even go down the bingo
Can’t remember the last time I had a win
Hair like a Brillo pad, legs like scourers
Can’t remember the last time I plucked the hairs on my chin
It does this to you
All this social isolation
Wrapping clingfilm around a rebellious nation
And the government have this mental expectation
That we will be sheep
Clothed in the wool of allegation
Don’t go out
Wash your hands
Keep two metres between you
Do as we say, or we’ll impose a curfew
It’s just like the war
Except you don’t have to don your guns
And kill a visible enemy
We’re fighting something global we can’t even see
All we have to do is stay inside and watch the death tolls on TV
And I pray every day that one of those intensive care beds won’t be me.
Ooo loo roll
I’ll need that
Back in the war I’d wipe my bum with newspaper
The stories of the day plastered over my derriere
My neighbour popping by to see if I had some spare
And the air raid sirens would scream
And we’d be woken from our dreams
Of victory
Playing hide and seek with the bombs that rained down
Dot to dot on the roofs of the houses of our little town
Taking refuge in the shelters
Taking refuge in the neighbours
Taking refuge in the strangers
And though we were fighting for freedom
We were still free
Oh, tinned fruit cocktail
Will do for my trifle
Put it in my cupboard full
Of empty shelves
In my kitchen of a lonely life.
Better go home now
Better go home.

©2020 Sarah Drury

Muriel

A character based on many women i have met during my stays in psychiatric hospitals…

Muriel

Beyond her twenty years
She looked
With her duvet of fiery red curls
Coiling like delinquent serpents
On a Medusa inspired scalp
An artist could not etch so finely
The lines which lay as an insult
Upon a face which had weathered Hell
Eyes dancing like a ballerina
In a shit-filled pigsty
And she’s clutching a map full of no destinations
But she knows where she’s going
And there ain’t no angels
Strumming wistful tunes on golden harps

Big bones brawled beneath
Criss cross flesh
With the sorry scars of harming self
The sorry scars of hating self
The sorry scars of berating self
Pain fuelled tram lines
Hurtling to Hell
And she’s clutching a fist full of Disneyland dreams
But she knows where she’s going
And there ain’t no wise St Peter
Heralding her arrival at the pearly gates

A blank canvas once
Though now an impressionist’s masterpiece
With the purple hues
And the green and blue clues
And the red in slews of how’s yer father
Punctured pathology
Peddling pinpricks
Parading pangs of predilection
And she’s clutching a dream full of fairytale fantasies
But she knows where she’s going
And a utopian Jesus ain’t there
With his meek open arms and his forgiveness smiles

Eyes flecked with flashing blue
Sparkling in dreams
But in waking, like warm, flat champagne
Her mind mocking
At every heart-choked twist of fate
Nothing that
A puff of weed
A snort of coke
Best friend, the needle
Wouldn’t pleasantly anaesthetise
And she’s clutching a dream of a kilo of weed
But she knows where she’s going
And it ain’t no fluffy clouded heaven

And she’s clutching a dream of a better life
But she knows where she’s going
And it ain’t home

©2020 Sarah Drury

We are Great Britain

Well, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. Covid-19 has infiltrated every aspect of our lives! Here in Great Britain, we are in lockdown. At the moment we can only leave our houses for essential food shopping, collecting medication and one session of exercise a day. It may get even more confined as the virus reaches its peak. I never thought I would ever see anything on this scale in my lifetime. It is like a war but we cannot see the invisible enemy and we have no defence except quarantine. Here is my ode to Great Britain…

We are Great Britain
We are the brave and afraid
United in our fight against
A silent killer, invisible to our curtailed eyes
We thrive in times of compromise
A resilient nation
Born of grandfathers who knew no word but pride
The haunting times of war
Back then are echoed in this fight against the silent enemy
A nightmare we are living
But a dream that silhouettes itself in cloaks we cannot see
A dream that does not differentiate between the screams of you and me.

For we are Great Britain
We grit our teeth and keep our fears beneath
Our trembling egos
Hiding our terror
Hoping these draconian measures aren’t forever
Hoping the doors in the outside world
Aren’t closed for business for too long
Braving the wrath of the food shops
Gritting our teeth and staying strong
As the mindless stockpile food
And the homeless are left to die in the gutter
And toilet rolls become a priceless commodity
And the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies just become fatter
As the ugliness of humanity rears its head in wanton greed
And we don’t give a shit about the rest of the people
As long as our family’s arses will be clean
We will worship in secular churches without a heavenly steeple
And you can say that they’re selfish
You can say that they’re mean
But it’s self preservation in a global scheme
Of fear.

For we are Great Britain
We cower behind our green front doors
Like animals trapped in cages
Zoo specimens walking on two feet instead of four
We keep our doors tightly shut against the bacteria and sickness
We wash our hands ten hundred times a day
We sanitise, we obliterate, we obsessively
Scrub our justified fears and insecurities away
Don’t touch that infected door
Don’t stand near me less than two metres
Don’t let the kids go out to play
Don’t breathe your dirty air
Don’t let the family come and stay

For we are Great Britain
As we watch our Boris on TV and he tries to lead a nation
Against an enemy we cannot see
Each night he makes a brave and science informed declaration
But deep beneath his bravado
He must be feeling the sting of condemnation
He never signed up for this shit
He never had a notion
He would become an icon
In a state of emergency

For we are Great Britain
We are parents battling with home education
We are fans battling with no footy on tv
We are nurses tending the desperate and sick
We are doctors fighting this pandemic, this nightmare that’s running free
We are the shopkeepers keeping the nation fed
We are the care workers tending the sick and weak
We are the teachers teaching the kids whose parents
Are sacrificing their health
These selfless beings, what a risk to take
And the volunteers who their comfort and safety have swapped
We are the drivers getting food to your shops
For the benefit of this country
And we salute you all
In a time where even the strong can fall
We salute you Great Britain
We will get through this
And we will get to the finishing line
Still standing proud and tall.

©2020 Sarah Drury

Privilege

I know there will be mixed feelings about this poem, but i was furious to learn that Prince Charles had received a test for Covid-19 when he had mild symptoms, when we have frontline NHS and healthcare workers risking their lives and not being able to get a test! Boils my pee!!

Don’t want a big political argument about this, we are all entitled to our own views.

Here’s a rant called ‘privilege’.

Privilege

Your privilege
Turns my blood
As cold as a cadaver in death
Lips blue
Tainted in death wish hues
With the colour of your politics
Doctors, nurses
Angels on the frontline
Your sacrifice isn’t adequate
For a vital test.

Heir to the throne
Cherished by the patriarchy
Whilst our health workers,
Heartlessly thrown
Between a rock
And a hard place
Courage doesn’t matter
When, placed between your lips
When you gasped at birth
Was a silver spoon
As you inhaled
The immunity
Of gentry.

Your privilege
Turns my blood
As cold as a cadaver in death
And I die
Of shame
At the injustice
Of society.

©2020 Sarah Drury

Medal of Honour

My grandfather, who was 92 when he died, 9 years ago, was a very brave man. One day, he was walking through the centre of Hull when he saw a gang of lads attacking a guy with learning disabilities. With no hesitation, he waded in, pinned the ringleader to the ground, the other lads ran off, and he got another member of the public to ring the police. He managed to hold the bully down until the police arrived.
For this he received a bravery award from Humberside police. I was SOOOO proud of him! Here’s a poem dedicated to him…

Medal of honour

All we have is a fading photograph
Proud old man
In tan leather shoes
Polished into mirrors
Of army reflections
Standing on principles
Of selfless bravery
Heels as sturdy roots
Sucking up the echoes
Of classless courage
From an Earth
Sodden with the blood
Of cowardice
of cruelty
of discrimination.

All we have is a photograph
Proud old man
In weathered wool coat
Threads laid bare by age
Your seventy-five years
Hold you not to turn a blind eye
To turn the other cheek
Once an army boxer
Punches never left you
But attack in defence
Working class fists
Infused with the legacy
Of world war hardship

Fist to floor
Floor the enemy
Enemy a prisoner
Prisoner of war
War crime
Crime for a cheap dime
Don’t mess with him
Non nonsense banker
Pennies for punches
Pounds for penitence.

All we have is a photograph
Proud old man
In memories now you’re gone
Proud to call you grandad
Proud

©2020 Sarah Drury

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