Mary’s Poetry

Dancing on the Beach

 We looked for a place for our children to grow.
When we arrived we were forced centre screen
bold and blood red …..into the glare  of home office inquisition
and told to await a decision from a man in a suit.
To avoid the transition   transportation……deportation
into scenes, sights and sounds  too unthinkable to articulate,
words buffered in the brain ….. imagination died.
Feebly, we presented our case, in unfamiliar language,
we gave our reasons why we seek permission
to stay; leave to remain, not to go back and so
we wait for a decision from the man in a suit.
And while we wait………….
we dance on the beach.
After gang-rape by soldiers we fled with the children
to a place of healing….of  leaving the scars, the bruises.
A dream too much…. of a decision,  permission to stay in this place?
so   we wait and play with the children on the beach.
Five years since  we escaped from bullet and bomb;
five years since we came with our hope, to live without fear.
One child’s starting school.  The other plays football,
He shows promise they say.
We still wait.  For the letter, the knock on the door
for the decision of the man in the suit
to give permission……
To day it arrived from the man in the suit:
‘ Go back!
Return to the ruins of your homes and your schools.
There’s no one alive so there’s no one to kill  and you’ll be alright’!
‘And I’ll be alright,’ says the man in the suit,
for my figures will tally my targets be met.
I’ll have sent in my quota and that will be that’.
The tide of hope turns.
In the shallows the children paddle;
sandcastles crumble.
Curled up on a rug   Mother weeps on the beach.
In 2007, Newport Justice and Peace Group took local asylum seeking families on an annual outing to  Porthcawl on the South Wales coast. I wrote this as I watched a group of Iranian women doing a traditional dance ,  others  who had undergone unspeakable experiences were playing with a bat and ball . That morning one of the women had received her letter from ‘the man in the suit’.  
( After a long legal battle this family were eventually given leave to remain in this country)
Man lying  on a Wall  
A painting by R.S. Lowry
I lie flat on the wall straight and true to its line.
I’m a brick. I am slick. I’m a company man. 
I am set in cement, level in spirit, a plumb line….
that drops….straight…..true to its line….. 
I am a corporate  man….who’s a brick, who is sick,
who has shrunk to less than I am.
Which way shall I fall?
Inward to pick up umbrella, unrolled; document wallet, shut, locked?
Shall I roll over,to what ? to where?any  where 

as long as I’m no

just a brick.


The Lowry picture was given in a creative writing class  as a stimulus to poetry writing.  At the time my mind was exercised with the difference between ‘having work’   and  ‘having a job’. I had been to a ‘gig’ where a local band were playing.  One of the musicians publically pointed out  a members of the then DHSS  fraud squad standing at the bar.   Musicians, Artists and Writers ‘ work’ but  it is  not considered  gainful employment and are being made to take  ‘jobs’.  


The Martyrdom of Anne Boleyn
The morning is bright, almost cloudless blue skies.
Our standard blots out the sun from our eyes.
Today I will die by the edge of a sword.
Its cut will be final, it will be the last word.
 The carnival starts out there on the hill.         Round up the crowds for the sport of the kill!
While deep in the vaults of Guantanomo’s tower,        Witness is racked by those who seek power;
So I can be led from my celebrity cage,      An oblation  offered on history’s page.
But this May day’s so fine, I don’t want to die,
,Civil War in Yugoslavia
I don’t wat to die for  this terrible lie
while there on the block, death will be my fate
For treason against this terrorist state.




A Sonnet to Time

Rooted in its corner, an oak grandfather clock;
Its omnipresence ticking off a pattern in the home,
We measure its rhythm with each clicking stroke,
Exacting and precise, a ruthless metronome.
The angle of its hands daily rules our lives,
We sleep and work according to its chimes.
By earth’s diurnal motion we survive,
Exist within the table of its time.
Unheeding hours will you not let us be
To hold one eternal moment in our grasp?
Forgotten days and years go laughing by,
Through womb and grave the generations pass.
So we will wind the clock, to keep us going still
To set our days in stone for good or ill.


The Reluctant Cinderella

(for Harriet) 
She didn’t want to go to the ball.
She couldn’t be bothered , got nothing to wear.
Never wore skirts, just wasn’t a flirt.

Besides, she had to lose weight. Being size eight……. she was far too fat !.

And that was that.
Then Fairy Grandmother came on the scene.
‘You shall go to the ball.  We go into town and buy you a gown.
It won’t be so hard; I’ll wave my magic credit card!’
After six hours Fairy Grandmother’s powers were beginning to fade.
Shops, boutiques and department stores,
And changing rooms with no seats!
‘Have you tried red dear? What about green?
Yellow? purple?….. How about blue?…No?’
‘Sleek and sexy? Full and girlie? Long? Short?
Please try this blue.’
‘No! Blue isn’t cool.’
Fairy Grandmother now was feeling uncertain.
But as she drew back the curtain……Transformation! Elation!!
There stood a girl, a vision of youth, of beauty, of joy.
who laughed as she twirled. ‘Oh Grandma, I love it.’
‘But darling it’s blue?’
‘So?   I love blue.   And I shall go to the ball.’
 cinderella with car


A Love Story


Time doesn’t half go slow

It hangs upon my hands you know.

I dusts a bit there

I dusts a bit here.

Well it helps to make the day go

Then I polishes the chairs

For the second time this week..

There’s rubbish on the telly

So I’ll make a cuppa tea

But that’s the fourth today

Can’t have any more,

It’ll only make me pee.

What time is it? It’s only ten

So I’ll dust around again.

Then came the day I met Pete

On the bus, and he offered me his seat.

Coy like I   stuttered ‘Thankyou’

He smiled and ‘My pleasure!

Cor my heart was all a flutter.

Then the bus came to my stop

And I had to be getting off

But guess what Pete came too

Seems he lives next door

In our residential home

Round the back of Waterloo.

Now the time goes fast,

Don’t know where it goes.

I meet with Pete twice a week,

And so the hours pass.


 Nothing is All

in empty space.

 mantra, mantra, lotus breathing

in out; in out

gently focus

in out

mindful aiming.

in the distance empty space,

(lotus breathing

in out, in out)


darkening venturous

love is beckoning.

Chi Qong Kanji

out there in the night, the music is calling.

so much to think, so much to do,

images, intellect, memory and will

compete with the soul

for the need to be still.



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