Friday, 8 October 2010

A Faded Poem

This week National Poetry Day saw a swarm of writing by all ages and abilities. Great stuff.

Over at Writing Magazine and Writers' News, members-only online forum Talkback (blimey - what a mouthful!) the editors launched an impromptu poetry comp on the theme of 'home'. Mine didn't win but was in good company with entries from Lee Hughes and Anthony Cowin.

After announcing the (very worthy) winner, ed, Jonathan Tefler said "There were other great ones too though, and I must admit I nearly had to wipe away a tear at LilyC's (but I'm just a sentimental old fool really)." Aw, cheers Jonathan!

My poem The One Thing was inspired that very same day after walking past a nursery school with glorious roses in its garden, deep pink leaves layered like skirts on the blooms. As I passed, a curly-locked girl came out, scratching and digging at her scalp...


She’s a skinny ballerina,
dancing, desperate with thrall.
Today she’s here,
tomorrow, and the next,
there’s an absence as
she fails to grace
her classroom chair.

Eight years old.
Darling of the corner shop,
Mummy’s money.
Grown-up girl does it all,
sweeps the floor,
washes dishes,
cares without care.

Teacher spots the crawling hair,
lice the size
of planets in
Delilah’s fine red curls,
Appalled, she sends her home.
The letter
says it all.

Breaking down the family door
they find the truth,
how she’s survived
on pizza,
squeezy cheese.
The washing up’s all done,
ironing, left creased.

With Mummy dressed in rose-pink satin,
curled up in cold
arms Delilah scratches
at her scalp.
Mummy gone, the nits -
one thing
she couldn’t do herself.


  1. Terrible and tragic all at once! Nice work, Lily!

  2. I loved it! I can see why Johanthan had to wipe a tear away.


Lily Childs is a writer of horror, esoteric, mystery and chilling fiction.

If you see her dancing outside in a thunder storm - don't try to bring her in. She's safe.