Mary E. Ringland – A Desolate Dawn

Ringland LE P&W 6 Nov-Dec 2023

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14th Anniversary Edition, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing Volume Six Nov-Dec 2023.

A Desolate Dawn, poem by Mary E. Ringland.

A Desolate Dawn

The velvet sand snores — nestled beneath
a quilt of withered weed and deadly dreck.
A spindle-legged gull stands her ground,

knee-deep in a pool of limpid tears,
restless —- rearing to go.
Over yonder, an ornamental Oystercatcher

shivers, curtailed by the cobalt canopy.
She catches sight of her lipstick beak
reflected in Coke-a-Cola glass

and lets out a mournful shriek. Then she
parades over plastic pruck, across a carpet
of crumpled cans, to cut a dash through

a cacophony of Curlew. Carping,
they cook up their plan of escape
at the first glimmer of light.

The night watchman — timer of the tides
— shrugs, keen to clock off for his well-earned rest.

I Would Change the Sheets

…if I could be rid
of your scent from last night,
and my sense of fear
now that you’re not here.

…if the noise
of the nightmares gnawing
at my frazzled nerves,
could be numbed.

…if my crumpled confidence
were as easy to iron out
as the creases
on cool Egyptian Cotton.

…if my flattened pillows,
full of shattered dreams
could be fluffed up — given
a prime-time makeover.

…if it were possible
to straighten out
my duvet of delusion,
and ease my confusion.

…if a night, cocooned
in crisp, clean linen
could put wrongs to right,
instead of rights to wrong.

I would change the sheets

…if it were that easy
to make a fresh bed
of lavender-scented lies,
and put heartbreak on standby.

Devil in the Declutter

I unearthed a demon
from a troubled past — buried
deep in a box of sepia snaps.

A Kodachrome souvenir
of a man — cracked
as popped corn.

He was laughing
at my crazy cork-screw hair
— caught up in celluloid

curling at the edges —
colour fading fast
from the face of a carefree clown.

We were absolute beginners
— teenagers — trapped
in an echo chamber

of splintered memories
and the bitter ricochet of history
— sharp as a sniper shot.

What now?

Airbrush out the agony
scan — save — forgive
or delete forevermore.

© Mary E. Ringland

Mary E. Ringland is a poet, prose writer, and therapeutic counsellor from Northern Ireland. She has travelled far and wide but now lives on the Antrim Coast with her partner and her two dogs, Fig and Freda. Though diverse in style and content, her work has an underlying theme of love and loss. Her poems have been published in The Bangor Literary Journal, Live Encounters Poetry & Writing (Jan 2023), The Belfast Community Arts Partnership Anthologies, ‘Over The Threshold’(2022) and ‘Compass’(2023), and more recently, The Storms Anthology, 2023 and the Morecambe Poetry Festival Anthology, 2023. She has participated in live and online performance poetry events: Oooh Beehive, Eat the Storms Podcast, The Belfast Book Festival Slam, The Morecambe Poetry Festival, and many more. Mary is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing at the Open University and is working towards her debut poetry collection, Decades of Devastation and Delight, due for publication in 2024.

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