Empty Chair

Written for my late husband, who passed away almost ten years ago.

As the warm,
comforting glow of
Yuletide shenanigans,
wraps itself around
my melted heart.
As the last candle on
the mantel,
sings a soliloquy and
melts into new
incarnations of its waxy self.
And the ten years since you
rendezvoused with
the light side,
I see your chair
all empty there.
Missing you.

That last Christmas.
Heaven knew
that the angel of time
was pausing
her inhibiting breath,
whilst you cherished your last.
We gasped those last months
in expanses of
winterscape lungs.
And I don’t know
but I’m sure the universe
painted our visions
titanium white,
what with the snow and
cerulean, stark winter sun skies.
I see the space in our bed.
The place where once was
mortal.
All empty there.
Missing you.

I knew you’d be here.
And you were.
Amidst the shreds of gaudy
and rips of tearing carnage.
Presents from a widow’s
best efforts.
Brave smiles, well-rehearsed
after ten years of
Xmas dinners for two
and only one big one
at the table.
Playing secret Santa
and making all the
responsibilities
look easy.
There should’ve been
Frolicking with crackers,
and snapping away
our feigned hilarity
as we tossed lame jokes
into joyous memories.
But turkey’s for two
now.
Your plate all empty there.
Missing you.

Sarah Drury 2020.

Poppies

With respect to those who have served our country in the armed forces, especially those who have given their lives.

Today is Remembrance Sunday here in the UK. Poppies are laid at the Cenotaphs around the country to remember the fallen.

My son, who is autistic, stood beside me holding my hand, in a rare moment, and respected the dead and those in service. I was so proud. I wrote this poem…

Poppies

Our two hands, entwined.
You don’t often grace me with your silence.
But today, ten million poppies bleed.
As they died,
these heroes of men.
In fields of fortitude and flowers.
With wives and mothers.
Sisters and brothers.
Children.
Lovers.

Today,
scarlet paints a promise
on our hearts.
You stand there,
in the image of your soldier father.
All gallantry and valiance.
And my heart defies my eyes.

I never asked you to stand beside me.
‘respect the dead’, you said.
And you did.
And I wept.

Our two hands, entwined.
You don’t often grace me with your silence.
But today, ten million poppies bleed.

Sarah Drury 2020

Resolute

Do not read if swearing shocks you!!

Resolute

So, it’s a new year
And I’m supposed to be making a heartfelt resolution
As though being a new me is a miracle bloody solution
As though being the old me is a heinous crime
And I should be having some sort of criminal prosecution
Some sort of 2020 jury
Some sort of Godlike absolution
This loony tunes girl of no constitution
My madness – my blessing, my curse
My insanity my most endearing attribution

But why should I be less of me
In order to be more of the woman you’ll probably never see?
Why should I stop swearing?
Who the fuck does that?
And who the bleeding hell is so overbearing?
It’s only a fucking word for gods sake
So, to hell with your glaring and notions of caring
It’s vowels and consonants in the order I’m sharing
Chill, bitch!

I am a mother and I am not little miss perfect
My house is a mess and my growing lad, god bless
Turns the air blue
And then I turn it neon
And I can’t see my mouth changing its hue
And I can’t see me getting mother of the year
I am just glad I’ve kept my son alive
That his clothes are washed, no nits in his hair
I don’t want a trophy to tell me I’m almost shit
And I don’t want a throne, a gold plated chair
Just a ‘love you, mum’ will do

And I can’t see the cakes or nibbly bakes
Being particularly impressed if I leave them alone
Sitting forlorn in the aisles at Iceland
when they should be loitering here at home
I may as well start gorging on sticks and stones
Even though they may break my bones – by calling me fat cow.
And what’s wrong with my butt that looks like a semi doughnut?
What if my figure doesn’t make the cut?
What if I tell you to piss off, you judgmental twat, and kick you in the nuts?
There’s nothing I like to see more
Than some sexist hanging off the end of the boot on my foot!

And who is telling me I should be more charitable
When I am the first to feed the homeless in town
I’m the first to look up at those fallen down.
Do I need to put on some sort of fucking crown?
Do the homeless need royalty in this pissy ghost town?

I could be kinder, sweeter, quieter, neater
More conscientious, less over eater
Smarter, wiser, early riser
Don’t let my kid drink Irn Bru or Tizer (e-numbers!)
Say please and thank you
Hold open the doors
Keep the house tidy
And do all the chores.

But fuck that
I’m just going to be more of me
I’ll let go of the things that feel shit and see
I’ll get bigger and better and stronger and my patience will get longer
And people will ponder and my friends will get fonder
And I’ll probably get rounder and louder and swearier
and my lipstick will get redder and my legs will get hairier
and my mouth will get lairy
and my madness will get scary
but that’s more of me
More of me!
More!
Of!
Me!

©2019 Sarah Drury

A New year Ode

Well, its New Year, a time when people all around the world are celebrating. A time when people get together, when families and friends unite. But there are many lonely, elderly people who don’t have that privilege and will be sitting at home, alone and lonely. My heart goes out to them. Here is my ‘designed for spoken word’ ode to these people…

She sits alone
Heating has been off since six
Skint again, afraid to heat her home
As the New Year fireworks roar extravagantly on TV
But still, she mustn’t moan
When there are people sleeping out on the freezing streets
Afraid and all alone

It wasn’t always this way
The nights when her terraced home
Was full of life and family
When she shone like an illuminated flash
Of brilliance, when her life of the party would smash
The pinnacles of joy
Acting like the hoi polloi
Not alone

New Year’s Eve
Gathered outside number thirty four
Counting down the moments
Do we will away the year or yearn for something more?
Neighbours gathered in the moonlit street
Family together like some hereditary meet and greet
Moments tick tocking, the sound echoing in the vaults of time
Excitement reaches a crescendo as Big Ben sounds his infamous chime
Auld Acquaintance possesses our being
As song consumes our passionate bones
And you can hear the ringing of the messages of cheer
The loved ones at the end of the telephone
And the ship horns sing out into the dead of the night
And the world is ok and the universe is alright.

But she sits alone
Taking in the happiness on the TV screen
Saying it’s ok, the family are just busy, they’re not being mean.
And she raises a glass to her husband, dead for many years
And time has healed her wounds, and love has salved her tears
And she waits for the phonecall to prove someone cares
But the phone never rings, and there goes another year
It could be much worse
But she mustn’t moan
After all, her family hadn’t fled
Her family had just flown.

©2019 Sarah Drury
photo credit: BBC

Happy Birthday Jesus

Happy birthday Jesus
Lying in your simple manger
Lowly, meek, humble,
commercialism a stranger
bet ya didn’t know that years to come
your beloved day of birth
would become a multitrillion franchise
that gifts of gold and myrrh and frankincense
by men proclaiming themselves wise
would morph into a creed of greed whilst children plead to be good indeed
for the wise men don’t bring gifts anymore
it’s a fat bloke in a red suit, black boots
white hair and beard, rosy cheeks belying his white privileged roots
and you’d better be good, didn’t you know he could
leave you a sack of broken dreams, fuck you coal
leave you a psychological smear on your childhood.

Happy birthday Jesus
Bet you didn’t know
That whilst your parents struggled in their desperation
Not aware of the glory and jubilation
Piss poor with not a roof to call their place
The masses would be gorging on a turkey feast
With food to feed a capitalist appetite
with trolleys loaded like culinary weapons fueling the consumerist beast
that the arm of the machine of Commercialism has been greased
that simplicity and modesty and want not are deceased
And why not have a bite out of the Christmas cake
And choke on the excesses in which our society partakes
A mouthful of craziness and a sentiment that’s fake.

Happy birthday Jesus
Bet your simple manger
Didn’t look like the Las Vegas strip
With the star of Bethlehem glowing modestly
With promises of greatness and goodness
And wisdom and benevolent leadership.
Whilst the glare of commercialism is blinding
With its 1000,000 watt show of excess and falsity
Showing how Jesus has become a commercial commodity
How the denial of humility has become a societal monstrosity
What’s wrong with a single star and a birth of mediocrity.
What’s wrong with our world?
What is this pretense that there is no inequality?
What is this illusion, this fucked up dishonesty.

So Happy Birthday Jesus
I know it wasn’t your dream
To see the world bedecked in its outrageous festive theme
I know if you came back today
Your mind would be devastated, your heart would scream
But Happy birthday
Happy birthday
Welcome to this world’s fucked up consumer dream.

©2019 Sarah Drury