Margaret Royall

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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.