Poem: ‘A Photo’
In October 2020 to mark the International Day to End Poverty, people with lived experience of poverty across the country shared their original poetry. In this video, Karla McDonagh reads her poem ‘A Photo’, which is about ‘letterbox‘ correspondence with children who have been adopted.
Ok so it resulted in a complaint
Looking through torture has made my soul feel faint
But I am not giving up, no I ain’t.
It helps to write a simple poem from my heart
It allows my emotions to unscramble
And that’s when my heart starts.
It opens me up like a book
And I share it so all can take a look.
On a serious note why do I have no luck?
All that meant so much to me, with a simple agreement was took
Yes I lie awake at night breaking my heart
So much as see a child, my heart says “oh fuck”.
I’ve seriously never felt pain like this
I never knew how strong it would feel to miss
To wrap my arms around you and place on your forehead a loving kiss
When the pain squeezes my heart, all I can do is dream and wish.
Come on is there a God up there?
As if there was, why is it only a picture on which I stare
Seriously my life has transformed, how can we all
Carry on being punished
This is really no longer fair.
I don’t get to watch my Eloise start school
A memory so important
A memory I am not good enough to share.
I wonder how cute you both look
Like in your school uniforms
Only the uniforms you wear.
Do they walk you to school proud and holding your hand?
Would they feel the in-depth emotion I would feel if
I was in their place?
If they did, I would understand.
For Heaven’s sake
Small things like making sure you’re within the garden gate
Just making sure you’re happy, loved and safe
Handing your tea on your dinner plate,
On your birthday giving you the cake
I still bake.
Just to see a photo, my soul will enlighten and wake.
Come on God give us a break.
What has life become? You will take anything
Offered to you, just to know how happy and settled you both are.
Making a guess on if you live in Scotland or further away
I just want to know how far.
Have you ever fallen yet and you want me there
To pick you up and mend you,
And then you see a face that is not mine
And feel so blue.
Am I ever in your dreams?
I dream of you both daily and will do until I
Next see you, so it seems.
It is bad to say how much I truly need you both
Is it selfish to want to hold you both so close?
How are you both supposed to know I love you the most?
You see this is why I am tired! Do you see
How many questions I need answered?
This is becoming a part of my life
Dreaming of the day we re-unite.
– Karla McDonagh, 02/09/2016, 00:30
With thanks to Dan Farley for video editing on behalf of the APLE Collective and to On Road Media and the London Challenge Poverty Week for supporting the event. The music in the video was composed and performed by Jason French.