Meg poem

The Sapper’s Lament

The Sapper’s Lament

I’m complaining of my head and eyes
  and also of my chest;
I never get a minute’s sleep; I can’t march
   with the rest
Because my feet have flattened out, and
   since my bunions came
(After my wife had turns last year) I’ve
   never been the same.
My mother suffers from her nerves, she
   says she had fits when
She was a kid. My father’s dead – he
   died when I was ten
(Though ’twasn’t that that killed him). I
   left school at Standard III
And mighty glad to leave I was, and ran
   away to sea.
But when I got the chance to quit I took
  a job on land
For sea life is a rough life and there’s
   some jobs I can’t stand.
(I told you of my eyes and feet and
   how I cough at night
Till it feels as if my head’ll bust?) My
   back’s never been right
Since an accident I met with when
   a lorry knocked me down –
They kept me weeks in hospital, and they
   baked my whole back brown
But it made no difference to the pain,
   [and so] I made them pay

Full compensation – I can’t bend or lift
   things to this day.
But when they called me up I came and
   tried to do my share,
Was it my fault about my head and
   chest and feet? It’s not fair
To label me a shirker when I go sick.
   I know you
Would like a little medicine if you
   suffered like I do.
They put me down as A1 when I joined –
   they didn’t care
How much I coughed (though I coughed a lot)
   and if I had been near
To having one foot in the grave ‘twould still
   have been the same,
And now I’m on a draft you know and
   seeing that I’m lame
And my back’s bad and my chest weak
   I thought that you’ld agree
My category needs altering, it should be
   C – or E.

Margaret Taylor

1994 Meg poem


Samaritans  (1994)

Samaritans, Samaritans
Oh rally to the call!
Come early to your sessions please
Ye unsung heroes all.

Fear not that ringing telephone;
Fear not the flashing lights;
Fear not the chiming front door bell;
Don’t dread those long long nights.

You only have listen;
You only have to care;
You only have to share their woes,
Their worries, their despair.

You are a stranger, just a voice,
An unknown entity,
But you are linked to life and death
By your telepathy.

Meg Rugg-Easey May 1978

1978 Meg poem

Little Children

Little Children  (1978)

“Let little children come to me”
Said Jesus, “Let them stay ;
“Heaven is built by such as these
“So turn them not away.”

But mothers with no time for kids;
Short-tempered Mums who yell;
No-nonsense Mums, unsmiling Mums
All make a child’s life hell.

I see them in their private hells
Grow warped beyond repair.
Oh Christ! What waste of love and joy –
And what use that I care.

I long to help them, hold them tight
And share in their despair
I long to help them, but I can’t;
I must not interfere.

Meg Rugg-Easey May 1978

1978 Meg poem

The Walls Reverberate

The Walls Reverberate  (June 1973)

The playroom walls reverberate,
At evenings and weekends,
To the thunder of the latest ‘pops’
When Colin and his friends,
With record-player at full blast
And everybody singing
Go through the pop-charts from the top –
Then back to the beginning.

Susan is working in her room
Preparing for exams.
The little wireless on her desk
Croons to her while she crams.
She says it helps her concentrate,
Perhaps it does, for she
Is doing well. She plans to go
To university.

My husband’s in the sitting room
Playing the organ there;
It helps him to relax, he says,
When he has time to spare.
So ‘Annie Laurie’, ‘Clementine’,
‘Daisy’ and ‘Danny Boy’
Go floating sweetly round his head
In electronic joy.

I’m in the kitchen washing up,
Cooking the supper too.
I do not mind domestic chores,
Whatever job I do.
I’m listening to my wireless set,
Tuned in to Radio Three,
And Handel, Bach and Beethoven
Go everywhere with me.

Meg Rugg-Easey May 1972

1972 Meg poem

The Vortex

The Vortex (May 1972)

The centre of life’s vortex is a place
Of stillness. All around it ceaselessly
The turbulence of swirling water flows.

   Those who are fearful of life’s dangers seek
The shallower waters at the periphery
Buying their safety at their souls’ expense;
Some shelter in secluded pools, removed
From the fast-racing currents; here they live
And of stagnation gradually they die.
Some drown before they even learn to swim
Some are destroyed by forces greater than
Man can oppose. Lucky is he who comes,
After long striving, to the central calm
And there, like a dolphin risen from the depths,
Inhales the life-giving air.

   His goal attained,
Here he can rest, here is his soul content,
And here, having found the way, he may return
Leaving life’s turmoil for a little while,
To renew his strength in quiet and solitude.

Meg Rugg-Easey May 1972

1972 Meg poem

Invisible Houses

Invisible Houses (May 1972)

We carry, each, our house upon our back –
As does the snail – but it’s invisible,
More like an extra skin, an atmosphere,
Perhaps a fragrance. We are recognised
As much by it as by our face and form,
And every day we live we are building it.

Some build a house as fresh and welcoming
As is a summer garden; some a cell
Bare and ascetic as a hermit’s cave;
Others are locked in dungeons dark and foul
Fettered by care, their heavy chains self-made.

We carry, each, our house upon our back
And day by day we build it, brick by brick.

Meg Rugg-Easey May 1972

1972 Meg poem

My Mum Goes Out to Work

My Mum Goes Out to Work (April 1972)

I hate my nice new clothes; I’d rather wear
My old more comfy ones. I hate being told
Not to get dirty. I don’t want to watch
The telly every night. I had more fun
Before my Mum went out to work. I wish
She’d stay at home again, just to be there
To talk to and to touch. I’d like that more
Than all the clothes and tellies in the world.

Meg Rugg-Easey April 1972

1972 Meg poem

A Secret

A Secret (1972)

It really is a blessing –
Though of course it is a sin –
To be able to say one thing
But to think a different thing.

To say “I’m pleased to meet you”
(I dislike you all the same,)
Or “Must you really leave so soon?”
(And please don’t come again.)

When bored at social functions
It’s most comforting I find
Whilst being outwardly polite
To be rude in my mind.

So everyone, thank goodness, can
If they don’t let it show –
Think all the horrid thoughts they want
And no one else will know.

Meg Rugg-Easey Feb. 1972

1972 Meg poem


Versailles(Feb. 1972)

The Palace of Versailles is beautiful;
Its Hall of Mirrors marvellous, unique.
Beneath these decorated ceilings lived
Louis Quattorze and Louis Quinze, their wives
And all their court, magnificently dressed
But verminous.

   These formal gardens looked
In their day much the same; for them the trees
Glowed with their lovely autumn tint as now.
   Beneath the trees a group of children play
Dragging their feet through heaps of fallen leaves,
Throwing them up to fall in golden showers
Or piling them upon each others heads.

   When I am home again and shall recall
The splendours of Versailles, I’ll see again
Those children playing with the autumn leaves
And hear their laughter in the frosty air.

Meg Rugg-Easey Feb. 1972

1971 Meg poem

Ever Beside Us

Ever Beside Us (March 1971)

The greatest and the wisest men who lived
In other times and places ever stand,
Embodied in their works, beside us. Like
Great mountain peaks above the vales where men
Of lesser vision dwell. Patient they wait
Until we turn from cares of everyday
Which dull our senses and confine our thoughts,
Looking to them for inspiration. Then
They show us, from their heights and through their eyes,
The human panorama, and they share
Their deepest thoughts and highest ecstasies
Speaking from heart to heart as no man speaks
Even to his dearest friend. From them we gain
Courage and hope and wisdom, and we climb
With them above this blood-stained earth where acts
Of cruelty and violence shape men’s lives
Ad pity, truth and love are valueless
Except as shields keeping our souls alive.

Meg Rugg-Easey March 1971