Margaret’s passion for poetry began in early childhood. Retirement brought the opportunity to pursue her writing, giving voice to acute experiences of loss, grief and chronic illness. Her first poetry collection “Fording The Stream” was self- published Sept 2017 as Jessica De Guyat.
She has been shortlisted for Crowvus and Bangor Literary Journal poetry prizes and her poems have appeared in journals, anthologies and webzines, amongst which Hedgehog Poetry Press, Crowvus, Mookychick, Word, Voices Poetry, The Blue Nib, Bonnies Crew and Pink Plastic House. Her short pamphlet “Singing the Earth Awake” has recently been published by Hedgehog Poetry Press. Forthcoming is her Memoir of Childhood “The Road to Cleethorpes Pier” – a prose/poetry fusion scheduled for publication in May 2020 by Crumps Barn Studio.
She performs regularly at open mic venues and currently leads a Nottinghamshire women’s poetry group.
Twitter: @RoyallMargaret, Instagram: meggiepoet, Website and blog: greasleycottage.wordpress.com
GHOST IN AN EMPTY CHAIR
Sometimes it is just a flap of wings in a lonely meadow, or a child’s shoes and socks left by a pond Sometimes it is the intensity of darkness or the emptiness in the kitchen at harvest Maybe the laughter ascending from the street below or the ‘stepford wives’ promenading past with their pugs; the elation of cheering crowds at a football match, the vicar’s wife fraternising with the village elite… Whatever triggers it, you instantly know, that lonely ghost in the empty chair is you, as though you are marked out with a blood-red bindi…. folk turn away, rejecting the discomfort of your grief The world tumbles to wrong conclusions and your sealed lips shout ‘I am still here!’ You cannot fight the inevitability of it; you ask yourself why grief is such taboo…. Sometimes all it takes is the wind kissing your hair, the cyclist turning to smile as he pedals past, moonlight catching the svelte stem of your wine glass, or an unexpected call from a complete stranger….. Just small things, singular, unremarkable, yet they have the power to transform your world…and you are grateful First published in The Blue Nib October 2019
I AM LISTENING
With homage to Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s ‘I am waiting’
I ask him if he is listening. His lips move, they form words, he nods back…… but his eyes tell a different story…. they are distant, their focus blurred maybe inventing a fabulous alibi? I am listening for his apology, which he is plainly withholding…. pride standing in his way as ever And I am listening for my heart to stop beating, my distress to find a voice, for the door bell to chime, for the children to arrive home, the baby to howl for its feed, for the cat crashing through the cat-flap, live mouse in its jaws squealing for its mother And on a higher level I am listening for the speeches of politicians to finally proclaim the whole truth, for the vicar to preach sermons with greater relevance to the truths of a post-modern age For the bees to buzz again in gardens everywhere and the new-born of endangered species to utter their first cries And here and now I am still listening for him to explain his ill-judged actions, to not insult me with bare-faced lies But I guess I may be waiting a long time……
A DEMENTIA SUFFERER ATTEMPTS REWILDING
Fingers gnarled by time’s relentless curse tremble as she rips the seed packet open Mary, Mary, pick up your willow basket,, it’s time to make your garden grow again! Seeds rattle, jangle like forest creatures’ sudden chatter, fierce raindrops after drought Mary, will you sow sweet meadow flowers in wild profusion as you did as a child? Seeds spill out, jewels sacrificed from April’s crown; a chain of broken gems cascading, scattering… Time waits for no man, Mary, be quick now, Swoop like a magpie, make your garden grow! They hit the cobbles, roll into far flung crevices… The eager soil receives no sustenance Oh Mary, nothing good will come of this! They say that you are too contrary, girl On scissor hands and groaning knees she grubs around, gathering up her grains of cruel dementia How will your garden thrive now, Mary? Nature alone cannot turn weeds to flowers! A frisson of guilt travels down her crumpling spine Somehow she must rewild this cottage plot Oh Mary, Mary, soon it will be too late, Call up your pretty maids to plant and sow! She wrings her hands, fumbles with her apron strings, slumps against the door jamb, all hope spent.