Imagine That

Grenfell Tower

Image from BBC

Imagine yourself on the phone to your sister
who knows she is going to die.

Imagine your neighbour and your neighbour’s children
pressed against their window hoping against hope.

Picture your father fighting to breathe
as the smoke that fills his lungs half blinds him.

Imagine the mother who must choose for her infant
between certain and probable death.

Now picture the scene as the businessmen gather.
Imagine what they said to each other.

Imagine their smooth, untroubled faces.
Picture their pink and white manicured hands.

Imagine for a moment they knew what they were doing.
Imagine that it adds up to murder.

Picture how the truth might look.
I wonder if you can.

Perhaps

(On the execution of Lady Jane Grey, 

Monday, February 12th, 1554)

Not, in truth, a martyr but a trembling girl,
how you must have quaked at the scene:
perhaps the spring surprised the dawn,
silvering the close-cropped winter grass;
and, perhaps, you leaned forward for one last glimpse
and felt your child’s heart leap,
a flightless bird put up too late,
its green wings yearning after skies;
and as he came back, in that blood-bespattered cart,
perhaps, you did cry out: ‘O, Guildford, Guilford,
O, my husband, O, my one true love’
as they lead you then where the scaffold stood
against the tower’s white walls.
And perhaps it was there you shook off
your fear, recalling how he laid you down,
an eager bride, half giddy, in the circle of those lifeless arms,
finding comfort, perhaps, to think how brief
a widowhood was destined to be yours
as you mounted the steps, your eyes still dry,
read your Miserere and died.
Or perhaps you did not. Perhaps you mourned
a women’s life unlived and wept to know the greed
of those who gambled with your head;
cursed, perhaps, the father who gave you up,
the husband who could only whine and die;
perhaps you railed against your fate
even as you seemed so much resigned.
‘I pray you despatch me quickly,’ you said
as you laid your white neck down.

Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt

All rights reserved.

My Father Wanted Pauline by Abigail Wyatt (All About My Name Poetry Series)

I am delighted to be represented in the All About My Name Poetry Series currently being run by Silver Birch Press. Especially pleased, too, that this is a poem that enables me to post a picture of my grandmother, Matilda Jane. She was quite a woman. 🙂

Silver Birch Press

Wyatt photo
My Father Wanted Pauline
by Abigail Wyatt

I was a mid-summer baby,
not a Yankee Doodle Dandy
but born on the Fourth of July.
I arrived, they said, not quite on cue
but two warm days too late.
I made my entrance while still unnamed
(my father wanted Pauline)
but Paulines wear cardigans
hand-knitted in pale pastels
and fastened by dainty pearl buttons.
They must have taken one quick peek
and right away known
that wasn’t me.

Matilda Jane Ottley was fifty-four,
my father’s formidable mother.
Never a beauty, already grown stout,
her birthday fell two days before.
I should have been christened for her, so she thought;
in her mind there was no issue, no question;
I should have been Matilda Jane;
or Matilda, or Jane, at least.

It was not to be: the die was cast
their battle lines were drawn;
my mother dug her heels in deep

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Call for submissions: All About My Name Poetry Series

Not much time left to meet this deadline but it is an interesting project and I intend to try to get something together.

Silver Birch Press

name_logo How did you come by your first, middle, or last name? What’s the “meaning” of your name? How do you feel about your name? If you could do it all over (or if you already have), what name would you choose for yourself? How did you get your nickname? Did a childhood or “baby” name stick? We want to know all about your name (or names) — so tell us in a poem for our ALL ABOUT MY NAME Poetry Series.

PROMPT: In a poem, tell us all about your name — first, middle, last (or any combination thereof). Please send a favorite photo of yourself — at any age — to accompany the poem, and provide a caption for the photo.

WHAT: Submissions can be original or previously published poems. You retain all rights to your work and give Silver Birch Press permission to publish on social media and…

View original post 385 more words

Surprise, Surprise!

After a lengthy period when my blog simply refused to function – along with the blogs of a number of other people in my geographical area – it now seems that the problem may have been fixed. Sadly, this did not happen before I began another, new blog at Mad Rabbit http://abigailelizabethwyatt.blogspot.co.uk/. However, if all goes well, I propose to keep both blogs running, using ‘Mad Rabbit’ for most of my writing-based posts and this one for the stuff which is more random: meanderings, rants and the like. I am sure you know the kind of thing I mean.