MRS DYER


A poem by Mercedes Kemp
Mrs Dyer,
Annie,
Loved her husband.

She loved his smile,
The dimple in his chin.
His blue seafarer’s eyes.
She loved sending him to work
Each morning
With his dinner
tidily wrapped
And a clean shirt.
She loved to see him
Coming back,
Whistling,
Carrying a small posy
Of hedgerow flowers
To gladden
Her kitchen.
She felt
Lucky.
She had married
A good man,
Comfortable
Both at sea
And on solid ground.
A sailor
And a gardener.
A capable man
And a good father
To Charles,
Robert
And Annie.When he was called up
She didn’t fuss.
She packed
His seafaring clothes,
And food for the journey.
He said
He’d be back for Christmas.
He promised
He would return.The months became years.
Annie waited,
Cared for the children,
Who were growing
So fast
And looking
At her
With Charlie’s eyes
(all but Robert
who favoured her)The letter came at last.
The dreaded letter.
But not the worse news.
Charlie is alive
He’s in hospital
In England.

Annie dreamed
Of Charlie’s body
His wounds blooming
Like flowers
On his white skin.

And then
The second letter.
Her husband
Has disappeared.
He’s deemed
A deserter.
She does not
Believe
This.
He had never
Before
Turned his back
On anything.

Annie dreamed
Of Charlie
Wandering,
Lost in dark woods.
Looking for home.
She woke up
Crying.

Widows
And orphans
Look
At Annie
And her children
With a kind
Of contempt.

Annie dreamed
Of Charlie
On their wedding day
And the promise
‘Til death do us part”.
And how he looked
At her.
She wakes up
Knowing
That her Charlie
Will keep
His vow.

Time passed
Two years
And six months.
Suffering
The stigma,
Going
Without,
In dignified
Silence.
And still she waited.

A skeleton
Is found
In woods.
(just like the woods
In Annie’s dream).
There is a wedding ring
On its hand.
It’s the ring
That
Annie
Gave
Charlie
On the day
They married.

The ring
Is returned
Together
With the family’s
Dignity
And Charlie’s bones.

There is small
Satisfaction
In knowing
She was right
To trust him.
Annie
Will weep
And wear black
Until she dies
46 years later
aged 84
not having
forgotten
Charlie
For one
Single
Day.

Mercedes Kemp – WildWorks – 2014


  1. A deep humanity. Beautifully and simply told. Just what I’d expect from Mercedes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *