World Poetry Day

March 2024

For World Poetry Day, we are pleased to share two incredibly moving poems penned by two talented WAY members Charlotte and Jackie and a third one written by the son of one of our members, Richard, which was read out at his Mum’s memorial service.

Edges 

Written by WAY member Jackie 

WAY member and writer Jackie Daly has shared this poignant poem Edges, which is illustrated by a photograph taken by her late husband Andy Jackson. You can read more of Jackie’s writing on her blog.


Sea hitting against rocks

It’s at the edge I feel you most. 
Where the gentle wave curls,
plastering sand and gravel 
trowelled from the deep. 

Where the setting sun paints 
a cliff-edge shadow,
still on the sea’s moving canvas. 

These edges are where I find you. 
Where I hunt for you. 

Diamonds dance on blue crests,
Slate shadows trough behind them. 
Barking dogs demand sticks of attention. 
Throw me a bone. 

I can’t find you today. 

Torn seaweed stripes the strand line,
Flies feast on the decay. 
I pace the cold outline of your absence, 
Where grief swirls and ebbs and crashes. 

I haven’t found you for weeks now. 
I miss you. 
Throw me a bone. 

At this edge, grief cuts new shapes, 
smashes wild storms into my waiting, 
I become driftwood, 
flotsam of you. 
And I
bob, 
lost,
on this sea of grief,
which has no edges. 

In my delirium, 
Floating lifeless, thirsty for you, 
I hear you whisper, 
Let me tell you a story. 

One day, you said,
after your grief has explored these edges far and wide and deep, 
like an oystercatcher digging for worms,
or a gannet diving on the open sea. 

One day,
after you’ve curled around my memory, 
spooned your grief into my arms, 
poured tears down my neck. 

One day,
You will live again. 

Your edges will lie further then. 
While you are patrolling the edges of me,
keeping anchor watch night after night, 
your horizon will quietly travel. 

The edge of me will be right here, but grief will have stretched you.
One day, you will be able to hold our love, my memory, your future, new dreams. 

You’ll find your new edge way out there, a good mile beyond the old one. 
Keep going past the wailing and keening, keep going. 
Eventually you’ll notice the light.
A new-born light, like a winter morning.
Auroral, it holds me and you, spans your world and mine. 
Our light, breaching edges, expanding worlds. 

One day,
you will live again. 
Until then,
stay alive. 

The lucky one 

Written by WAY member Charlotte

WAY member Charlotte wrote this poem after her husband David died in 2019, 18 days after being diagnosed with gastric cancer. Charlotte told us: “I attended a series of workshops run by Scottish Opera in 2021, for women in the Borders affected by loneliness in the pandemic, and we had music, art, photography and writing tutors. This poem was a piece of homework. It was the first time I had put anything down on paper after my husband died, and I was surprised by where it took me…”.


candid shot of Man and women at their wedding

I didn’t know how often 
I would think of things to tell you.
I didn’t know how I would be whomped
with a thought or a memory 
until I am folded over
in half.

I didn’t know that I was only me
because of you.
And that without you
I don’t know who I am
or why.

I didn’t know how I would miss those things 
I didn’t much like:
your old-man whistling,
warbling tunelessly 
or tunefully in the garden;
the sometimes terminally tedious explanations 
of how things are.
Because now I can’t know 
how the world works
without you.

I didn’t know how I wouldn’t cry
after a while.
That I would have just eighteen days
of 4am arms-wrapped-around-the-dog,
her tongue rough on my cheeks 
wondering
how your night had been.
That after you died 
there would be no more 
agony of fear.
That after you stopped,
I would stop worrying about you.
I didn’t know that would stop.

I didn’t know how much fun life was.
I didn’t know how much we laughed 
until we stopped
when you stopped.
But only then.

But what I really didn’t know 
before you died, was
what it would feel like to be left
what it would feel like to go on living
when you would stop.
That it would feel 
Amazing.
That it would begin 
with running up the hospital stairs, 
two at a time
whilst my insides were screaming
because I could 
when you couldn’t.

And I didn’t know that afterwards,
when disaster piled on disaster,
it would be okay.
Because I would get to live 
when you didn’t.
And I would be the lucky one.

The Flower of Life 

Written by Sam at the age of 10 – and shared by WAY member Richard

This poem – The Flower of Life – was written by WAY member Richard’s son Sam for his mother Kirsty’s memorial.

Sam was only 8 when his mum Kirsty died of breast cancer in December 2020, aged 43. Richard told us: “We couldn’t have a very big funeral at the time due to Covid restrictions, so, on what would have been Kirsty’s 45th birthday in December 2022, we had a huge memorial celebration of her life with speeches, drinks and karaoke (which she loved).
Kirsty also adored poetry, so Sam wrote this poem especially for the event. Despite only being 10 years old at the time, he read it out loud in front of around 100 people. As you can imagine there was not a dry eye in the house – and I was the proudest dad ever, and even his older brother Harry was impressed!”


Family stood in front of a door smiling

A seed from the flower falls slowly
It lands softly 
The seed pushes itself under the rough dirt
Determined to grow
And grow it does
Slowly but surely
The flower breaks free from the cage of the seed
And rises back through the now softer soil
At first just a miniscule spot of green can be seen 
A spout of hope
It then starts to rain
The rain wills the spot of green upwards
Wills it to live
And so it struggles onwards
upwards
Through harsh winds
Until the sun comes
Then the sun wills the now stout green stalk upwards
To live
And so it scrambles onwards
Upwards
Until it’s the height of spring
And it is time to bloom
And bloom it will
The now tall green spire blossoms beautifully
Spewing reds
Oranges
Blues and greens
And then summer comes
And the flower knows it is wilting
So it starts to drop its seeds
Dropping
Dropping
Dropping
All the way until its last day of life
When it drops its final seed
And says goodbye to the world
And then the cycle repeats
Making a new 
Flower of life.

 

Please do feel free to share any poems that have inspired or moved you this World Poetry Day…