Heart of My Love

Heart of my love

I had the pink-dipped, love-tipped
heart of my love.
It quivered tenderly in my silk-gloved palm.
Like an Autumn leaf, mercilessly crushed under stiletto heels.
A porcelain breath was too strong for its fragility.

It used to pulsate within my lover’s rib-throb chest.
But the signal was fading, and mortality was quickly cascading.
There is no iPhone charger for a hearse-hemmed heart.
Only hopes and dreams,
as I drag my faith from the sacred of my sacrilege.

The angels had seen Jesus and his name was John.
As he swallowed stars and dined on cheese, with the man in the moon.
I showed them the heart and the heavens lamented.
They’d made a seat by the lord, yet the lord bowed down
to wash his life-ragged feet.

So, I ripped out the songbird
from the cherry tree.
It cast its beady eye and sang elegies with a smashed glass beak.
With resentment glinting, it was glaring at my psyche.
It was crushed in my palm and coveting the sky.

It sang of a pure, unblemished love.
Where virgins adorned the sanguine story of our hearts.
So sacred as the days when mortals were Prophets.
A gold-leafed lament, I heard the songbird sing.
As I released it from my cruel, artic-ice grip,
and it melted into the watercolour sunrise.

I had the pink-dipped, love-tipped
heart of my love.
Resting in swathes of my gossamer emotions.
Never had anything so delicate graced my gypsy, tealeaf palms.
But my crystal ball was clouded,
like the blatant truth of my fairytale eyes.

The heart slipped carelessly from my grasp.
Lilting through fingertips and sailing through oceans of sorrow.
I picked it up wistfully, slipped it in my pocket.
Hoping to mend it with silk stitches,
embroider a tapestry with a skein of hope.

And give you the gift of life
and hush the scorning songbird and his wicked songs
bleating I was a widow, not a faith hungry wife.
But I emptied my ears and knelt in prayer,
and clipped my turbulent tongue.

I had the pink-dipped, love-tipped
heart of my love.
I caressed its tender, brutal wounds.
I burnished it with solid gold and told it soulful tales of old.
He whispered he didn’t need it
anymore.

Two Wonky Wheels

I grew up on a council estate in a deprived area. We didn’t have much, but we were happy, and we made the best of what we had. I had a wonky old bike which I thought was the business! It inspired me to write this spoken word poem.

Two Wonky Wheels

Two wonky wheels,
clattering over dirty pavements.
Muck covered, muck covered.
Grimy hands,
grimy knees,
grimy faces,
market clothes,
kids in droves,
snotty nose,
Ken Loach prose,
playing on the council close
with their car boot sale toys.

Two wonky wheels.
Buckled like my affluence as a kid.
Fags in the gutter, fags in the gutter.
But I didn’t give a shit.
What you don’t know,
isn’t in the conscious show.
We weren’t fancy.
But the wheels kept turning,
the kids kept learning,
the loans kept sharking,
and I wasn’t yearning,
for a life I didn’t know.

Two wonky wheels,
and no iPads, no iPads;
no posing lads
on Instagram.
No girls with fancy iPhones,
no parents taking extortionate loans
for their little darlings’ Xmas.
No Facebook,
no Instagram,
no Twitter,
no Tik Tok;
no screen time ending
when the clock
said two hours up,
now knock it off,
or I’ll ban it.

Two wonky wheels,
and we fought over marbles;
Action man, Action man;
Kiss chase AND –
the odd fumble behind the
derelict land
on the building site.
Giz a fag,
don’t tell yer ma,
have a polo
you nicked from the spa;
you came in when the streetlights
danced with the stars
and you travelled by foot
and not by car,
for your parents weren’t
minted.

Two wonky wheels,
two tired legs.
Oily ankles, oily ankles;
Didn’t matter to me
that my street was the dregs
of my council estate.
Cos we were content.
All the comics I lent,
all the cops who were bent,
all the errands I was sent
for my parents;
twenty Benson and Hedges
and a bottle of pop
to keep the kids happy.

And we WERE happy.

Sarah Drury

Care in the Community

In 1986, the UK started the countrywide closure of the mental asylums, which housed over 100,000 patients, who were moved into the community. It was a noble act but very difficult for many of the former patients, who had to live amidst prejudice and ridicule. They were often treated with fear and suspicion by others, and ostracised from the rest of society. My great grandma was one of these people, and she found it very hard to leave as she had become institutionalised. This poem is looking through her eyes…

They shut down all the asylums,
din’t they.
Lofty, archaic ceilings,
echoing cries
of institutionalise.
Faceless Freud-styled fodder,
clothed in layers of regulation.

Pluck out my eyes so
I no longer see
the haunting corpse
of a ghost of a spectre
of a prison.
That crushed me
in fists of banal sterility.

They shut down all the asylums,
din’t they.
They kicked us onto streets.
Into people,
into mocking,
into laughter,
into ridicule,
loonies, nutters, crazies.
And we don’t know where we live anymore,
us half-breeds.
Walking around in polyester frocks,
yet floating in visions of hospital smocks
and medication time.

Care in the community,
they call it.
Well, it’s shit.
Cos the community don’t care,
and us crazies don’t care,
and we try to get by,
and the people stare,
and they call us freaks
and they whittle away
at our fragile egos,
crushed, broken and weak.
Like discarded eggshells
not Faberge.

They shut down all the asylums,
din’t they.
Freedom should taste like haute cuisine.
But when you’ve learned to live
within a bubble of lithium, valium, Ativan,
something’s got to give.
Imperfection is perfection
in a kingdom where the crazy rule.
But step beyond the lock and key,
to the world where
the weak and troubled fall,

and people cannot help
their ignorance.
For dig to the bottom of
their cruel-school bones,
as you learn to dance
to the ridicule
and you put your face on the joker
of every card you’re dealt.
For the laughs are at you
not with you;
Cheap and how the hyenas choke on
their resonant, acid tongues.

But I live in this half-way world;
my legacy is a white walled asylum
and I hear that my penance
thrives on my fear.
Hail Mary,
hear my prayer.

They shut down all the asylums,
dint they.
The lies they told
with their penny pinching lips.
They told us it was progress.
And they told us it
was freedom.
And I sit here in my prison.
Of fear.

Sarah Drury

Big Enough

I have searched the world for answers
Hurled my soul through
stratospheres of
God is this
and God is that
Jesus the perfect
on his right hand sat
And I ate up all the questions
and spat out all the dogma
Tasting the tang
of mental health stigma
masticated into morsels of
bite sized cosmos

And I ask the heavens
“Am I good enough for God?”
Should I worship at the altar
of the footsteps Buddha trod?
I’ve prayed for acceptance
For all my life
I’ve yelled to the deities
I’ve battled through
rough pain and strife
Lunatic, heretic, mother, wife
Is the universe having a laugh?
It’s slaughtered my dignity
with a hellfire-blade knife
and I hang on with a tiny glimmer
of hope

I’ve knelt down on one knee
to the Goddess of the moon
Pleaded to the archangels
Asked if my repentance
would be respected soon
Sung hymns to
a maverick’s tune
Praised and praised and praised
And meditated for days
Heart in a coma, head in a daze
Swallowed esoteric words
Which the new agers say
will lead to my enlightenment

I’ve laid on beds of crystals
Had hands lay upon my chest
Glorified the power of chakras
Searched the aura for the best
jewel in my spirit
I’ve eaten spiritual books
I’ve put God to the test
Cleansed my tainted soul
Burned the candles
Sacrificed love lest…
I meet my soulmate

And I ask myself
Am I good enough for God
As I cut myself down
And throw off my crown
And I meditate
And my heart creates
And the universe then satiates
And I hear a voice
A tiny voice inside my head
At first I couldn’t make out
the venerated words it said
But the universe spoke
and my full heart heard
And I knew it was God
who spoke the words

“Am I big enough for YOU?!”

©2020 Sarah Drury

Inhale

I have been embracing my spirituality lately and it feel so good. I love the Buddhist teachings but also love astrology, oracle cards, and Western and Eastern philosophy, so am a bit of a spiritual whore! I meditate every day and am already reaping the benefits.

I’m cultivating a lotus
from within

Inhale, Exhale
Each breath shapes
a sigh of a promise
A birthing phenomenon
grips my throat
like fingers around a
pessimist’s neck
Squeezing the negativity
like some kind of cosmic toothpaste

Oxygen tangoes pirouette on the tongues
of the would be Buddhas
Leaving behind the
hate and the frustrate
and the wicked glimmers of
acid lipped negative
Psalms and hallelujahs
ring out to Jesus
Whilst the mantras of monks
whisper to miracle of enlightenment

Each mindful moment
dissolving on my mind
Teasing on the point
of nothingness
Looking between the silence
to find…the serenity
seeping into my sanguine senses
To suffer is to die
Whilst to live in peace
is as empty as infinity
With a compassion fuelled heart
and a mind as awake
as a songbird singing sonnets
in a summer dawn

My life is a pavement
My heart is a flower
Seeking solace between the cracks
and refuge in my inner power

Existence is a privilege
we often denigrate
With our pills and our knives
And our poison dart words
echoing in chasms of dissonance
And now I must regenerate
integrate
embrace

Miracles can shine through
the darkest twilights
Each point of consciousness
a birthing star
Each glimmer has a home in faith
My consciousness can reach as far…
as eternity

I’m cultivating a lotus from within

Inhale, exhale
The shoulds and coulds
shout their moralistic monologues
holding me hostage
at the tip of a therapist’s theorem
My contradicted spirit
I did, but I didn’t
I can, but I can’t
It is, but it isn’t
And I’m doing my best
to assimilate the notion
That meditation can
spring into motion
transformation

And I am a thoughtless thought
Drowning in a spiritual thirst
My darkness a candle that’s flickering and dying
My light a torch setting fire to the world

I’m cultivating a lotus within
Inhale, Exhale
I am
the stillness
within

©2020 Sarah Drury