March 5, 2017

Three Poems by Karen Ankers: "David," "Excuse Me," and "Shelter"

Karen Ankers lives in Anglesey, North Wales, where she draws inspiration for her writing from the landscape and Wales’ mythical tradition. As well as writing poetry, she enjoys writing one act plays, in which she tries to give a voice to those usually ignored and unheard. Her plays have been performed in the UK, America and Australia, and she is currently working on a novel.


you were the boy with a lazy leg
who slurred his speech
whose thoughts ran slow
who dragged a heavy body
like a sack

you could only use one arm
the other lay limp
across your chest
I sometimes wondered
what it wanted to protect

there were rumours
about how you ended up like this
tight mouthed adults
whispered of gin and a reluctant mother
kinder lips said

to us you were David
with a grey jumper that was too short
so we tugged it down
when it rode up to expose your tender belly
and sometimes we slowed our pace to yours
in the small grey yard
where teachers allowed us
to see the sky

knowing the world
through your slow blinking eyes
was a blessing

how else would we have seen
clouds dance

Excuse Me

excuse me
we’re the people

just the people

the ones who
bake your bread
sweep your streets
write your books
teach your children
make your clothes
drive your taxis
look the other way
while we print your lies

the ones you couldn’t survive without
and we’d just like to say
we’ve had enough
of being hungry
being cold
being told we’re too stupid
to decide what’s right
and what’s wrong

is a child without a home
is a bombed and breathless city
is a dying man stepped over
on a busy street

you fed us poison
through television tubes
hoping it would blind us
told us to be silent
in case we woke your fiction forged monsters
dripped bitter drops of venom
to deepen dream infested sleep

but we are awake now
remember us


I was like a coat you never wore
hung out of sight
until that day when I might match your mood
but when you needed to hide
in the warm folds of my shelter
you found moths had eaten me
and only ragged spaces
showed where love had been

© Karen Ankers

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