Scottish Book Trust Journeys

Scottish Book Trust would like to hear about our journeys – here’s one of mine –

Forty Four
By Orla Broderick, @orlabroderick

The mind I have is a wandering one
travels times, countries
goes off into clouds or trees
to dream.
Some folk say they’re jealous
‘cos i’m free in my head.
It wasn’t always so
isn’t always so.
Sometimes I’m held still
by a slight or a wound
it’s hard to go to the beach
to breathe.

I go back to childhood and remember
I had books and blows and dark old eyes.
I was beaten at home
and beaten at school.
We all were.
Miss Norris had the ruler,
would line us up
and scald the hands off of us.
At home we had the wooden spoon
and the poisoned tongues of our mothers.
it’s easy to see how we learned to be good
or not, in my case.

Every day I was told I was wrong
or bad
or weird
or fat
I believed it all.
You do, when you’re small.

I carried this
through all of my life.
Letting everyone
put me down.
I fell out with me ma when she said
my own child needed
a good strong smack
the spoon.
I never went back.
I had moved on from that.

Last week was my birthday.
The Da sent some cash
for a haircut
I phoned him to say thanks
tried to joke that a holiday
would be good
but he cut off my talking
like he always has
and told me I was an insult to him and me Ma.
I see how it happened
back there
in the beginning
I see how I lugged it
in bags on my back.
No voice, no opinion
I did not matter
just one more single mother
on benefits.

From nothing came something
words on a page
a spark of talent
a flame
a fire
became self esteem.

Forty four years old and it’s only now
I see the why of it all.
I was born with something wrong with me
but only God knows what.

My child is due in
from school.
She doesn’t know
there’s anything wrong
with her
or me.
It’s because of that
I know
I journeyed well.

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