Nashville and Red Lipstick – Sue Burnside

Maybe I’ll get tired of Nashville

I am Sue Burnside. We moved up to the West Coast of Scotland three years ago. Prior to that I was a special school head teacher.I am having a late burst of creativity at the moment, and as well as poetry, I write short stories and am writing a non fiction book about growing up in London in an irish Catholic family. I also write songs and am learning to play the mandolin and banjo.

Nashville and Red Lipstick

Should I decide this will be my last dog?

This one at my feet?

I don’t want to get another one 

that has to outlive me, 

that has to come to see me in the hospice 

Or wear a bandana at the cemetery.

And then go back to the rescue.

When should I accept that I won’t go to Nashville

And sing at the Grand Ol’ Opry? 

Accept that banjo lessons are a waste of time?

(Not just for me but for everyone.)

And when should I give up the fight with my hair?

Settle for grey steel and not soft gold?

And concede I am not as funny as I think I am.

My mother never gave up.

Not like me.

Weeks after she died 

the parcels still  arrived.

She planted tulips for the next spring,

She never imagined life ended,

Things unmended

She died waiting for batteries for her hearing aid.

Maybe I’ll get tired of Nashville,

Of crossword answers slipping out of reach,

Of forgotten words like so much fluff in my mouth,

Then I’ll stop searching for the perfect red lipstick.

I won’t remember the arc

But I will remember the fall,

The arrow coming to land 

Somewhere I can’t find.

Sue Burnside

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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