Poem – Nick Williamson

Margaret’s Roses


Christmas Day and Uncle Frank
is glued to the Queen’s Speech.
Her pigeon voice glides over
oceans and out of the fraying
mouth of a wireless.
She wishes us well
stuck at far-flung corners
of the Commonwealth
those pink blobs inside our atlas.

There is killing in Africa –
words chanted in a black tongue

Mau Mau, Mau Mau

like the crying of strange birds.
God will defend us.

Uncle Frank stares into an empty
sherry glass, his face a continent
of pink. A year ago his Margaret
was plucked from her larkspur
her snap dragon, her Penelope

On the way out we brush
their pale cheeks.


Nick Williamson

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