The Mother That Murdered – Emilie Mendham

The day of the dark creeps close

Dark House

Special thanks to Emilie Mendham for her fantastic contribution to Voices and the competition. Emily is a student at Nottingham Trent University, and has very bravely decided to submit her first ever entry to a contest. We really appreciate her decision, and we are sure you will enjoy reading her work.

The Mother that Murdered

My House was made of sugar paper

And the floor was coated with silk,

When my walls felt thin like wafer,

I then noticed my flowers begin to wilt.

Now a stranger sits on my chair,

And our eyes are the same pink blur,

The stranger glitters, knowing they’re rare.        

I know outside will soon start to stir. 

The stranger beats with the hum of my heart.

And the outsiders drum with force,

“The stranger needs your support”

Their throats grow hoarse,

“But the stranger will steal and bite”

The outsiders scream and bang

And the Stranger looks for me

But my eyes look for safety of the sun. 

My house cannot save us see?

As I only have until tomorrow night,

Before the outsiders find out who wun. 

The stranger scrapes under the veins in my hourglass,

Tipping and then smashing fine tissue.

Whilst outsiders loudly tap on my glass,

Flecks and shards speckle through.

Warning me of what the stranger will do.

How could I decide? When even the outside,

Fails to let me choose.

I just stare at this unwelcome stranger

And wonder, if maybe this person,

Will only let me lose.

I beg them to tell me what to do, 

The stranger that lies across my floor, 

They tell me the only who knows is you. 

And their eyes glint and don’t let me question more. 

“Is it odd to say I could love you?

Stranger that never knocked on my door.

“Is it odd to say I could want you?”

Then abandon you outdoors.

The day of the dark creeps close,

And my stranger is swollen for more,

I feel for the stranger the most,

Or ache for somebody’s deplore.

A direction for my feeling,

As I feel so alone,

How is it I could ever be healing,

When it is me doing what I will have done. 

I know when I go upstairs the stranger will go,

I will not be there to see them leave. 

My eyes drift and the gates splay open,

And the underbelly of the house begins to heave.

My doors are gushing like oceans,

And my curtains ripped from the poles.

I knew it would be painful.

But this? Even so. 

I thought I was ready,

For this strange invader to assent,

But here my dreaming body,

Is sickly with that copper scent,

And my house is remoulded and unsteady.

As the shutters blink awake,

And my house is destroyed. 

I clutch at my searing aches,

For my stranger to help this void.

Yet it is just me,

Bleeding my stranger and alone.

I walk on dead leaves of a birch tree, 

As the outside bangs and throws stones.

Each day the floor is still weeping,

As I peel the wood back for my stranger.

My fingernails cracking and grieving.

Now I grow tired and crippled and sore.

As they yell I have defied nature. 

I thought now the outsiders would be happy.

But somehow they scream even more.

Now each layer of my perfectly clean rooms, 

Is coated with the past of my stranger. 

Then a brick smashes and intrudes, 

With a note from my outside dangers:

Naming me the “Mother that murdered”

And the mirror I look into crumbles in my hands,

Splintering my eyes and my pain is furthered.

I cry and wait them to stop their demands,

For revenge that belongs not to them.

My eyes regrow technicolour,

Battered and scarred but they’re there. 

My nose meets a new smell of summer,

But I am unable to care. 

I flick the scars on my skin, 

I writhe salt on my body and watch it in pain, 

But my house remains quiet.

Never to see my stranger again.

This day I can see the truth between my wounds, 

And I notice my garden door never grew shut.

I clamber through the warped gate, 

And the air is soft on my smashed skin,

But my heart aches to feel, even hate,

And shaking in my own self-beaten sin,

 I curse myself as nothing but

“Mother that murdered.” 

Yet the flowers grow from my beaten touch,

And warm to me like those who have suffered, 

and show me what gifts they have bought.

A gift from my stranger 

That is not all blood and sores.

But it is forgiveness for “her”

And it is bravery and hope with new laws.

It is kindness with a new eclipse,

It is the promise of finding beauty, 

And it is a whisper between the tulips

That something will grow from this cruelty.

My stranger loved me.

As I loved them.

And feels no hatred for the home, 

That couldn’t house them.

They caress me with rose thorned truths

 Not gentle lily lies,

That soothe me like supple fruits,

I stroke the words and the cries, 

Against my torn and bitten tongue

And pours cold water on my sore eyes.

The flowers give life to my bruised lungs.

My house is greeted with a warm breeze.

And the shouts of the outsiders are mellow,

As I rise off the ground from my knees.

And as I touch my new wall, I learn of the echo.

That sends cries from my house to the garden,

Showing me what I need to know- 

That I am worthy of my pardon, 

As I am both the insider, outsider voice,

And despite believing my childhood was stolen,

That all along I had choice,

And that once I’m no longer swollen

I can repaint my milky pink walls,

And replaster the torn rules. 

Emilie Mendham, Nottingham

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.

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