Anne McDonald – Kingdom Hall Calling

Anne McDonald LEP&W V2 Dec 2022

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Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Two December 2022.

Kingdom Hall Calling, poems by Anne McDonald.

Kingdom Hall Calling

In December in her fiftieth year
Mary made a decision
to be Jehovah witness
for the coming festive season.
Neighbors stopped to read the card
tacked to the front door heralding
the cancellation of Mary’s Christmas.

No tinsel tat, no tree to shed its spines
across the carpet clogging up the hoover,
no cards from people never seen
no being a consumer of stuff she didn’t want
and definitely no Roses in a tin,
they being a million syns at fat club.
Her house and mind would instead
focus on Quality time, without the sugar.

No socks, jocks, bath sets, nets of easy peelers
no sprouts from Brussels slopped
into gravy on a plate.
At the front gate a sign addressed
the postman directly,
“No cards here.
Bills and junk mail welcome.”

It was a witness at Mary’s fat club that sparked the idea.
Not the finding of Jehovah so much,
as the shedding of the stress, the spending,
the never ending putting up and taking down
of plastic angels and tinfoil baubles
or balding birds, claws of wire bent with arthritic years
of gripping the aforementioned tree.

“Listen to me,” Maggie said
“Are you mad Mary? We don’t do Christmas.”
The lights went on in Mary’s head.
She said, “This year, Maggie, I won’t either.”
So neither women wasted hours wrapping crap
for people who didn’t want it
trying not to cry when adding up the bill.

“This year I will spend the day in silence
Or in nature, or learning to play the ukulele
by tutorial on you tube.”
Maggie handed her a copy of The WatchTower.

“Bolognese will do for dinner, garlic bread a sure fire winner
being a family tradition for the curing of hangovers.”

No bobbled festive wool pullovers which scalded
Mary’s underarms doing nothing for her figure,
(each year she knew she needed a size bigger.)
Why did she not think of this before?
Maggie pushed some leaflets through the
letterbox of the front door.

So for the festive season Mary signed her name
as Rachel, kept her money in a tin,
rang the New Year in from the comfort of her home
being perfectly alone and smiling as the first baby born
made the papers front page, screaming her arrival
with incandescent rage
her mother smiling for the camera.
They called the baby Saoirse,
the Irish name for freedom.

Dear Billy

Hello Billy, what do you want?
I can hardly hear the phone
I have just sat down.
Are you finished work?
Are you coming home?

Hi Marge, If you are putting a wash in
-I’m not!
But if you are putting one on later tonight,
Billy, I’ve just poured myself
a vodka and white. How come
every single time you ring
you ask me to do something?

Marge, can you not put my work jeans
in the machine,
there is a lotto ticket in the pocket.

Dear Billy,
I hope you are well.
Its very hot here.
The beach is lovely.
Marge x.

© Anne McDonald

Anne McDonald is a Irish based spoken word poet and artist whose work is centered on the challenges we face in a society that is changing rapidly and how we respond or react to those changes. Through her writing she explores themes of parenthood, aging, death, loss, inclusivity and response to the human condition. Through her art she explores our connection and sometimes disconnect with nature, and the effect mankind has on nature. She in interested in the power of enabling people who would otherwise not be considered “writers or artists” to find ways to give voice and space to their own creative experience.

She was awarded  The Irish Writers Residency in Cill Rialag, Kerry. She has had work published in Women’s News, Hot Press, Electric Acorn, Woman’s Work Anthologies 1 & 2, The Blue Nib, The Strokestown Anthology, The Waxed Lemon, The Storms Inaugural Issue, Fragments Of Time, Blue Mondays’ Anthology 2021, 192 Magazine and Live Encounters Magazine. Her work has also been featured on collaborations with musicians and animators and reviewed and broadcast on RTE Radio. Anne has an M.Phil in Creative Writing. Her first collection of poetry Crow’s Books was published in 2020.

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