MARGARET ROYALL
Author Feature - March 2021

Margaret‘s 1st poetry collection ‘Fording The Stream’ appeared Sept 2017 under the pen name Jessica De Guyat.

She was shortlisted for the Bangor Literary Festival and Crowvus poetry prizes in 2018 and her poems have appeared online, in journals and anthologies, most recently Hedgehog Poetry Press, The Blue Nib, Impspired and forthcoming in Sarasvati.

May 2020 saw the publication of her memoir of childhood ‘The Road to Cleethorpes Pier,’ a Haibun fusion of prose and poetry.

 

In July 2020 she won Hedgehog Press’ Full Fat collection competition and ‘Where Flora Sings,’ was published November 2020.

 

A new poetry pamphlet entitled Earth Magicke is forthcoming in May 21 with Impspired Press.

 

Margaret leads a women’s poetry group in Nottinghamshire and performs regularly at open mic events in person and online.

https://margaretroyall.com/

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FEATURED POETRY

LADY WITH LAVENDER AURA

From a secret drawer Aunt Phoebe 

takes the unctuous lavender oil - and


gaggles of barefoot children run amok through 

wildflower meadows, dry tongues of summer


yearning for sarsaparilla and calamine balm

to soothe the itch of post-war deprivation.


She hears the electric hum of bees in lupin throats, 

watches fingers pluck flowers from Air-raid shelter walls,


Breathes in carbolic soap from the hard-scrubbed nails

of her dad, stripped off to wash in the kitchen sink,


Drools as her mum lifts milk-topped scones from 

the blackened side-oven - Mrs. Beaton’s, of course

 

On elbow crooks and freckled wrists, she drips

the oil, cuts on her fingers stinging like vinegar. 


Too much, intoxicating, filling her pretty head

with sickly-sweet confusion – gasping for breath,


wheezing from the burn of excess, as though

the lavender fields might soon be pulped to dust –


Those fields in France, crackling with spit-roast 

hedgehogs, where carefree gypsies danced, caroused


and jumped the devil’s cinders, their nostrils teased 

by a lavender sea, infused with basil and thyme.


An idyll in a bottle, nostalgia’s pangs released 

whenever Aunt Phoebe performs her daily toilette.


Her clockwork days marked out in rhythmic bursts

Obedient daughter to family expectations

A BOX OF PRECIOUS SECRETS

Inside a drawer in grandma’s house I find

A secret box with tokens from a tryst

Still wrapped in silk cloth, sealed with rosebud twine


Victorian postcards, simple, honest, kind,

A silver ring he must have often kissed

Inside a drawer in grandma’s house I find.


My heart stands still, it’s clear how much he pined

For her, exploring memories of bliss,

Still wrapped in silk cloth sealed with rosebud twine


A photo of them sitting, arms entwined

Her hair untied in strands of golden mist

Inside a drawer in grandma’s house I find


Two hearts in decoupage both linen-lined

With spidery writing, hard to catch the gist

Still wrapped in silk cloth, sealed with rosebud twine


I sense that love was always on their mind

And tremble as I touch this precious gift

Inside a drawer in grandma’s house I find

Still wrapped in silk cloth, sealed with rosebud twine.

DRAGONFLY

She flew into my cupped hands, 

her wings spun from quivering cloud silk,

banishing the kettle-black maelstrom

within me, rekindling extinguished 

flames of passion, long pulped to ash 

in a broken heart. 

Together for a nano-second

we tasted eternity.

RESURRECTION OF A SKYLARK

On hearing Vaughan Williams ‘The Lark Ascending’


What if the skylark were reborn,

fledged from within the breast

of a Stradivari violin, attuned to the 

heartbeat of wild-flower meadows?


What if the violinist recaptured

that simple bliss in the patchwork of

vetch, clover, dock and ox-eye daisy,

breathing the petrichor of a post-rain evening?


What if the orchestra returned, 

their musica dolce releasing fragile 

wings in tentative flight, surfing the

rising currents, soaring skywards?

                   

Trilling, trembling, trailing the

cloud-skein of a ripening summer,

honeyed vibrato trickling earthwards

in ritardando, a gentle enchantment.


If so, then he might live again, fly again, 

my lover with wistful green eyes and 

hair like spilt sunshine. His soul might  

soar where the lark first sang affetuoso.


Two hearts might beat in unison again and the 

ending become the beginning, grief to joy.

Could we not lie together in that same meadow,

Our love intact, untouchable?  Da capo al fine.