The Tale of a Gentlewoman – Geraldine Tunstall

Her heart was sore

A special thanks to Geraldine Tunstall for her powerful submission to Voices and the poetry competition. Have you found your soul mate? The mysterious nature of love and the human need for companionship and appreciation is addressed masterfully in ‘Tale of a Gentlewoman’. We really appreciate Geraldine sharing this special poem with us.

The Tale of a Gentlewoman

All she ever wanted

was to give her heart to a deserving suitor

Her prized possession

had a little wear and tear

but was still fully functioning

Most wanted one with all the bells and whistles

but she was waiting for a man

that wanted an old antique with some charm

Her heart was sore

she didn’t know how to feel anymore

Lump in her throat, it was hard to breathe

wishing everyone would just leave

so much chatter in her head

trying not to see red

She heard the cries

and whispers in the wind

Not sure of which way she was going

she took a deep breath

and told herself it didn’t matter

as long as she didn’t stop

They met in a dark place

the shadows made it hard to see

So many times they stumbled

but patience and communication were key

She intently listened

held her hand out for him to find

Knew she should share her thoughts

as he couldn’t read her mind

Her face trembled

as the tears brimmed to the top

She’d been holding it together so long

she was ready to pop

She put on a brave face

as he pulled her close

Baby, what’s wrong?

tears streamed as if she’d just seen a ghost

Geraldine Tunstall

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Dancing Queen – Elizabeth Train-Brown

the world is a stage and the speakers are on

It is very special to celebrate the life someone special through the medium of poetry, and Elizabeth Train-Brown remembers her Nana, who ‘spent her century-long life dancing and teaching others’, in a magical way. We are very proud to present ‘Dancing Queen’ in the blog. Having had experience working with cancer charities, she was very keen to support this project. Elizabeth followed her parents into a life of performance, becoming the ‘fire breathing Phoenix on stage’ and has also pursued a career in writing. Find out more about Elizabeth at: Dancing on the Knife Point. Thanks again Elizabeth for sharing your exceptional poetry.

Dancing Queen

(for Violet)

Her legs are stiff with age; it’s been so long since she danced,

Twirled and chartered the floor, chanced

Each night with a new man on her arm

Now, she’s stuck in a chair, blanket warm

Over her knees and the sky went dark hours ago.

She’s been dreaming with her eyes open, you know,

Gazing at the wall with a smile on her face as music drifts

Through the air and partners fly around her like swifts

In the sky. There’s a band in the corner, playing louder and louder:

Sax and bass and drums and voices shower

The dancefloor in streams of light, bathe the room in

Tangible ribbons of sheet music. Her lips part to sing

And somewhere, in another life, her voice echoes

Through the room and not a soul dare go

When their ears catch those fluttering notes.

Here, the air circles with lazy dust motes

But there, the world is a stage and the speakers are on:

I’m here! She cries into the mic. Did you think I was gone?

Their whoops and cheers carry her like stretchers

Through the crowd, each brush of skin electric with embers

Of song and dance and excitement in her veins again.

She’s dancing the foxtrot through torrents of champagne,

The waltz, the jive, the rumba, the salsa,

The tango, the jitterbug, the cha cha cha—

Her legs are alive after an age of rest,

Awake and electrified and the best

You will ever see from all around. She’s whirling and spinning

Across the dancefloor as if she never stopped; she’s finally winning.

They’ll cry, she knows, in that other life

Damp on their cheeks, hearts of strife.

But one or two will smile, spare a grateful thought

That up there above, heaven has a dance floor.

Elizabeth Train-Brown

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

When T Meets B – Erin Keeble

On a beach somewhere on a summer’s day…

We really appreciate Erin Keeble’s excellent submission to Voices and entry to the competition. This poem carries a very important message which comes as no surprise as Erin aims to move audiences and ‘capture their minds and hearts’. A student at the University of East Anglia, one of her poems was published in the prestigious ‘Armistice for Schools 100’ poetry competition (judged by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy) and her work has also appeared in UEA’s Art-History Magazine. Erin is a passionate and talented lyricist who often takes part in poetry slams too.

When T Meets B

When T meets B there are firework sparks

T’s eyes dilate, above his beating heart

As he gets closer he begins to see How glamorous B is,

floating free

Her tall, slim body bathes with grace

The radiant sunlight upon her face

T can feel his body begin to shake

His mind is spinning, he feels wide awake

B stretches in the water and turns around

That’s it, T’s heart is bound

As B reaches and beckons with her slim white hand

T swims closer to the sand

He’s nearly there

It’s all too much to bear

As he sees the sunlight coat her cheeks

He shivers and buckles, his knees feel weak

As B reaches out her slender arm

T is overcome by her charm

He is sure her expression is one of love

Her pale body floating like a dove

But when their hands lock her nails are sharp

Like the small jagged teeth of a carp

He struggles but now it is too late

The carp has won, it has its bait

Pain encircles him and he is overcome

His head is hurting, his legs feel numb

He looks once at the ocean before glancing with dread

At the white entrapper spinning her web.

On a beach somewhere on a summer’s day

Fate dropped B the bag and she washed away

There to stay

And not decay

Didn’t think of T the turtle swimming by

In the ocean, under the azure sky

It was dawn when he suddenly wondered why

There was something so beautiful floating by

But he had to die

Why?

Because this love he thought he’d felt so strong

He’d actually got it all very wrong

For B the bag was a web of lies

She had got T the turtle mystified

Her beautiful exterior and fantastic shape

Hid what lay under her pretty white cape

T the turtle had made a mistake

But he hadn’t realised until too late

But if B the bag had found B the bin

T wouldn’t have suffered what fate chose for him

And then T would still be swimming, and free

This was the story of when T met B.

Erin Keeble, University of East Anglia, Norwich

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

An Angry Old Lady – Rob Lowe

I battle every day

Rob Lowe is a keen and dedicated poet who has been crafting lyrics and prose for many years. We really appreciate his moving contribution which addresses the challenging issue of old age. Many of Rob’s poems have a ‘political thrust’ and have also been published. We thank him very much for ‘An Angry Old Lady’ and we are sure it will leave a lasting impression on you.

AN ANGRY OLD LADY

Two years in this Home

Where I do not want to be;

I had my own home once

But it got too much for me –

Though I was happy there.

Here, I am angry and sad:

I change my moods.

They say this is not good;

My son feels I am rude,

And thinks I am confused.

The things I say, though,

I do not always mean;

Yet say them anyway,

To keep them guessing.

It is only Polly:

That is what they say.

And I get to know

Items they would rather

Not put on show;

I am good at eavesdropping.

I battle every day,

While the others watch TV –

Get ready my retorts.

God knows what they enter

In their shift reports.

“How old are you?” they ask.

I take them to task

When they say: “You don’t look it.”

How do they decide

What my age is meant to look?

“Where are you going, Polly?”

Is another frequent question

When I head towards the door.

I wouldn’t mind so much

If “What are you going for?”

Was what they asked.

But they lack the sense for that.

The staff do their best, I know.

But they think me silly. And I am not!

“It is my sort of lunatic

Ensures they get their pay.”

Is what I tell my son. I wish he would stay.

Rob Lowe, Colwyn Bay

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

The Way It Used to Be – Bernie Bickerton

I remember when only spiders had a Web

Special thanks to Bernie Bickerton for this sharp-witted and reflective offering. Can you remember those halcyon days before mobile phones and the internet? Bernie loves reading and writing poetry, and her passion certainly shines through in this brilliant piece – ‘a tongue in cheek view on the evolving use of language.’

The Way It Used To Be

I remember

When tweeting was only for birds,

When Kindle was only firewood,

When Windows were only looked through.

I remember

When dating required a meeting,

When Followers walked with Jesus,

When a hundred Friends was a demo.

I remember

When only spiders had a Web,

When only churches had an icon,

When only Hitchcock had Angry Birds.

I remember

When “to pin” was to prepare a hem,

When to Excel was to do well,

and I remember,

when you had a sunny Outlook.

© B Bickerton

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

The Decimation – Xavier Coughlan

under the guise of playing saviours

We are extremely grateful for the talented Xavier Coughlan’s offering to Voices, and we appreciate his support. Xavier is a student who often chooses to address the theme of mental health within his poetry. Eloquent, profound and thought-provoking, we are very fortunate that he has decided to share ‘The Decimation’. Thank you Xavier.

The Decimation

Berkshire. A high-security psychiatric hospital designed by architect Joshua Jebb to accommodate Britain’s most elusive and intuitive.

An assembly of ten,

unburdened by morals,

gathered one fierce night

to float suggestions

of a solution –

to fabricate subtleties

in catastrophe

and solve

what makes you man.

These mighty ten

had been convened

by fate and a sectioning law,

and together round a table,

crafted by Joseph’s son himself,

the group disputed your future.

The Richest clanged

for an annihilation;

the demolition of a continent

blessed not by wealth,

but by culture,

and all the economics

heritage entails,

under the guise

of playing saviours.

One proposed a decimation

and advocated it by tying a noose

and swaying from the hands of

Our strongest

and jiggling to the pain of their

blood-crossed hands.

We were subdued by two thoughts

in watching him dangle:

admiration for not being formulaic

in not using the flush of lighting;

and the eulogizing of his manifesto

in watching its flair unfold.

He was right.

That night, we shared his Lithium,

grinding the pills

into equal amounts –

complying with the cadaver.

Decimation was the future.

The decision had been made.

They bid farewell and set off

to tackle the execution.

Pax vobiscum

Xavier Coughlan, Pewsey, Wiltshire

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Nothing Is Ever Still – Emma Loftus

The old me is in here somewhere

The relentless pace of modern life takes its toll, and we are sure you will relate to Emma Loftus’s fantastic contribution. Despite being a busy wife and mother, Emma loves painting and gardening. She is also an avid reader with a deep appreciation of literature. We are very thankful that Emma has decided to share her poetry with us and enter the competition.

Nothing is Ever Still

Nothing is ever still
The exhausting whirl of my inner panic stifles and isolates me
The old me is in here somewhere, somewhere
but I don’t miss me. 
The important people are still here is that the problem?
some days I can fake it till I make it, some days, some days.
Other days are just other days. 

Emma Loftus, Birmingham

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Do You See Me? – Betty Benny and Rachael Pierre

I am just like you and you are just like me

We are very grateful for this thoughtful and powerful submission from Betty Benny and Rachael Pierre. In this fast-paced age of technology and social-media, we can so often be guilty of judging by appearances. Betty and Rachael are based in Sheffield, share a love of poetry and have a magical way with words. Thank you very much for your kind offering to Voices and our competition.

Do You See Me?

Do you see me?
Do you see the real me?
Not the material things around me.
Not the financial status I have.
Just me. Do you see me?

Do you see me?
Do you see the real me?
Not the mask I wear.
Not the clothes I have on.
Do you see me, do you actually see me?

Please don’t judge me from the way I look.
Please don’t judge from the things I have.
I’m just like you and you are just like me,
we are the same.
Money and material status doesn’t make us any different.

We are all vulnerable little children
inside craving for love and affection.
Peace, love, harmony and appreciation.

Betty Benny and Rachael Pierre, Sheffield

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Depression – Maralyn Smith

Help me please, I want my life back

Thankfully more and more people are prepared to speak out about the horrors of depression nowadays, and we hope this excellent submission from Maralyn Smith offers comfort. Maralyn has very kindly provided two submissions to Voices, and this poem will be entered into the competition. Thank you again Maralyn for sharing your eloquent and thoughtful poetry.

Depression

The void. The darkness. How long does it last?

My normal life seems way back in the past.

I cry, I shout and then I scream.
Is my normal life really just a dream?
How do I cope? What do I do?
No one knows what I’m going through.
My family and friends don’t understand why
I shout and scream and then breakdown and cry.
“Take the tablets”, is what they say,
“You’ll feel better tomorrow or the next day”.
Tomorrow comes and I still feel sad,
I’m starting to think that I’m going mad.
I need some help and I need it quick,
I’m starting to panic and I’m feeling sick.
The family’s come home and they need to be fed,
But I just want to go back to my bed.
At my empty life I ponder, then cry,
I feel so alone I just want to die.
Help me please, I want my life back.
How long does it take to get back on track?

The void? The darkness? How long does it last?
Well, it’s taken some years but it’s now in the past.

Maralyn Smith, Coalville, Leicestershire

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: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.