Don’t Say

My son is autistic, and now he is a teen, he is battling all sorts of demons. I wrote this poem to express how I feel as a mother.

Don’t say my child is slow.
Don’t say he will be pushing trollies around
Tesco car park, because he has big dreams,
Don’t say he won’t work -
will be milking the system and scrimping on benefits,
while his confidence wanes.
Don’t say he will be sitting with some bitch-faced PIP woman
ticking boxes ‘cos he can lift his arms above his head 
and stumble 100 metres on the parapets,
Don’t say he is not disabled ‘cos he can spell 
High-functioning Autism, and read 
the precautions on his night-time melatonin.
Don’t say.
Don’t.
Don’t say my child doesn’t care,
that he lives inside some insulated igloo, that 
strange boy who doesn’t kiss his mamma, and retracts like
a snail into his shell at the slightest touch,
Don’t say, when he drags me across the high street
to pull my last pennies from my purse for 
the homeless man who has no legs, just a crutch,
that he has no empathy - when he says 
if he won the lottery he would
put a roof over the street sleepers and make sure
their stomachs were happy.
Don’t say.
Don’t.
Don’t say, ‘Have you seen Punch and Judy, where
you are Punch and your mum is Judy?’, 
‘cos he used to thrash with his fists and I 
was the pad taking the hit and 
turning the crimson canvas into rose pink.
Teacher, who the hell do you think you are?!
Don’t say that he is spoilt because he would smash up
toys and hurl chairs at walls and make holes in
plaster and scream,
and scream,
AND SCREAM – 

because he was 9 in his head, but 18 months in his heart, and
the psychologists with their fancy words
sent reward charts and hugging pillows and resistance bands,
and false hopes and shallow dreams, in educated hands
Don’t say.
Don’t.
Don’t say that he should be walking to the shop,
that he’s nearly 15 and a big, tall tower. 
That I wrap him up in cotton wool when he should
be free, like a windswept wildflower,
and he calls me a helicopter parent but 
he knows no danger and 
is not wary of strangers and 
the gangs would have him, and there are 
hidden knives and luring drug dealers,
and I feel the fear – that 
his vulnerability will be a smear on his
safety - that one day 
he might not make it home. 
Don’t say he should look you in the eyes,
that he should say thank you to the bus driver in
a confident voice,
when he shrinks if anyone speaks to his face
and mumbles to the floor if questions take the place
of his introverted haze.
When he didn’t talk properly until he was eight,
that his throat swallows his words like smashed glass bottles
and his mind hangs on to the fragments of hate. 
Don’t say.
Don’t.
Say how he shines when he feels loved,
Say how he speaks with eloquence when he’s telling you
about his fans, air volumes, velocity, diameters,
Say how he writes stories with vivid imagery,
how he crafts words and weaves plots,
Say how he rolls his eyes and shrugs when the other kids
are being kids and he is not,
Say how his mother loves him and has fought like a valiant warrior,
Say how Autism is not a barrier. 
Say he CAN do this.
Say he CAN do this.
Say he CAN do this.

Don’t say my child is less. 
Don’t say.
Don’t…

©2022 Sarah Drury

Daffodils

A few years ago I was invited to write and perform some poetry with an ecological theme. I have always been reminded of Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ every time I see a group of wind turbines, and it inspired me to write this poem:

Daffodils
      
         *after 'Daffodils' - William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
that floats on high o’er fracking lines.
When all at once I saw a crowd,
a host of pure white wind turbines.
Besides the mines, beneath ozone
each one a hand of God, alone.

Continuous as the stars which choke,
polluted in the filthiest way.
They stretched in never-ending droves,
fighting for justice on the smoggy day.
Four hundred I saw at a gaze - 
spiralling heads in polluted haze.


The wind around them danced but they,
battled in their fight for energy.
An eco-warrior could not be gay,
in a battle for survival of ecology
I gazed and gazed – but could not think
what beauty before me, a carbon-free link.

For oft, when on my bed I lie
In despair or in a futile mood,
they spark a hope within my soul,
of a planet-saving attitude.
And then my heart with gratitude shines
and dances with the wind turbines. 

©2022 Sarah Drury

Ben – a poem about homelessness

I often bump into a young, homeless man on the streets of Scunthorpe, where I live. He has inspired me to write this prose poem.

Ben, who they kick

Sometimes I see you there, in your muck-stained, stinking cocoon, slashed with the silver-slit blades of wicked men. Glinting knives, cowards, sharks eating goldfish, despicable. “He’ll scrub up well”, my nanna would say, but you don’t have a sink and maybe it’s best if the mirror, mirror on the wall was not mocking you, for then the trajectory of the fall would be the depths you’d fallen.

You had a tent, once, in a field, a 100 percent yield on your bed on the cold, grey, slab. My sleeping beauty. Wanted a bite of the Big Apple and ended in Scunthorpe. If the council doesn’t move soon, doesn’t smooth this wrinkle in our ability to love our own. Stop this ‘them and us’. This ‘dead doesn’t matter to us.’ This ‘filth is nothing to us.’

You smiled once, and the sky turned cerulean, I swear. Broken teeth, yellow and golden brown like the heroin which pulls you out of now, into a never. Your eyes were once peridots and now they are black tourmalines reflecting the expanses of a world which, for you, has no walls. How insecure you must feel, how unwrapped like a gift discarded by an ungrateful child.

I wish I could create a new reality for you, Ben. One where you were not the shit at the end of someone’s shoe. Where food fills your stomach not by a passer-by’s “Are you hungry?”, but by mustering up a mean spag bol in your own little gaff. I cannot imagine being the breath in your lungs, all I can offer is a warm voice and a genuine hope that you will make it through the night.

© Sarah Drury 2022

Marbles

Glass spheres, all colours, wrapped 
within our dirty-nailed fingers,
50p a bag if mum is feeling generous. 

The chill on hand is biting frost, Arctic,
smooth as an infant’s tongue suckling on
its mother’s milky breast. 

We crouch, striking, poised, 
lured by potential in the weathered, grey,
metal drainscapes, bumpy and foot-scuffed.

With dirt on our curled fists, we send 
the marbles hurtling into holes, 
sliding into victory, these treasured balls

taking hits from bravado and
not wanting the shame of being the loser,
nursing the loose cannon.

© 2021 Sarah Drury

New poetry book out! Glimpses

Glimpses – my new poetry book

I am pleased to announce that my new poetry book, Glimpses, is available to buy on Amazon, as from today,

Glimpses is much different from my previous work. It is more sensitive and personal, and comes from the depths of my heart and soul.

It covers things like motherhood and autism, love, relationships and life in general.

You can purchase it here:

mybook.to/sarahdruryglimpses/

Your support would be gratefully appreciated.