Life is an Unscripted Journey – Margaret Royall

a chasm yawns between hope and despair

Thank you to Margaret Royall for her deeply moving entry to the competition and Voices blog. Margaret has maintained a passion for poetry since childhood and she performs regularly at Writer’s Live Southwell and leads a Nottinghamshire women’s poetry group. In September 2017 a collection of her poetry entitled ‘Fording The Stream’ was published under the penname Jessica De Guyat. Margaret will also be releasing more of her work through Hedgehog Poetry Press later this year. We really appreciate Margaret’s kind contribution.


No bars, no jailer – no escape

through the door of the prison cell….

Despair dances on shallow breath,

Bitten nails dig deep into palms;

a chasm yawns between hope and despair

as the final countdown looms… tick tock…tick tock

Above the drone of hospice conversation

a radio is playing Rachmaninoff.

The aroma of freshly popped toast

buttered with grief wafts up from the kitchen

Everywhere the relentless trivia of life intrude,

as invisible blood drips from my wounds,

pooling into a lake of deep crimson, like the hips

on the winter rose bush beyond the window

Glioblastoma devours his brain –

grade four, no treatment, bad prognosis…

“Take him home to die, enjoy

what time is left” advises the specialist….

words that trip far too lightly off his tongue,

as though he is dictating a memo,

a thoughtless remark devoid of compassion…

I struggle to find a morsel of forgiveness

Gritting my teeth, I steel myself

for the grim hours ahead, maybe just minutes?

He is drifting away from me second by second…

One last heart-stopping time I stoop

and bathe his withered lips with my tears,

then, all too soon the last… breath…… comes,

gently, like a dove settling on an olive branch.

Unexpectedly I feel a deep sense of relief

Margaret Royall, Nottinghamshire

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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