The Queen’s Speech, by Sara Dennis

‘I am your mother.
You are all my children.
I will live for you,
And I will die for you.
Our time here is short,
But our legacy must be upheld.
Today, we face crisis.
Our cells are warming beneath our feet.
We may boil in our own juices.
The walls around us
May warp and melt,
But we will stand together
As we always have
As we always will.
We will face this together.
We will protect our young,
Our future workers,
Our nurses, our undertakers,
Our seed givers, our cleaners,
The heir to my crown,
Our brothers and sisters
Through blood and solidarity.
None is greater than the other.
We work well because we work together.
We respect one another.
And I, your queen, your mother,
Will protect you all.
So as our home fills with smoke,
As often it does,
Breathe it in
And sleep, my little ones,
For tomorrow, we have work to do.
Every living thing depends upon our work.
In the face of adversity,
We will carry on and do what must be done.’
And so, they slept,
As beneath them,
The workers worked
To douse the flames
To save our heritage
And protect the purse,
Whilst the man
Named after the great cathedral,
Smiled in his grave
For he predicted this, in cryptic verse
Centuries ago.
But did anybody take his heed?
And the rich scurried to write their cheques
And tell the world just what they’d done,
As the poor gazed in horror
At what was being done,
And the homeless warmed themselves
At the early Beltane feast,
Whilst the comfortable folk
Wrestled with their consciences
As their televisions poured out the news.
The next morning,
As the world wept,
The bees rose slowly from their drowsy sleep,
Flew from their hive
And got on with their work
As though nothing had happened.

Respect by Sara Dennis

Finally, he agreed to leave

On one condition

I had to swear that

I Would not start a new relationship

For at least two years

Because that would be disrespectful

To him.

I kept my mouth shut. Again.

But in my head, I said to him:


Let me tell you about disrespectfulness.

You disrespected me each time you slapped me.

You disrespected me each time you pushed me.

You disrespected me each time you punched me.

You disrespected me each time you kicked me.

You disrespected me each time you spat on me.

You disrespected me each time you stole from me.

You disrespected me each time you lied to me

You disrespected me each time you controlled me.

You disrespected me each time you raped me.

And now I am free,

And now, I have self-respect.

I do not need yours,

And you do not have mine.

Battle Song by Sara Dennis

The wretched sun has risen once again,

He steals my dreams and returns my sorrow,

Must I endure another day of pain

When I know he will do the same tomorrow?

Words become swords which then cut out my tongue,

I cannot be heard from the circles of Hell.

Chained to the Devil, my songs go unsung,

The gift that you gave me, rots in my cell.

Do I even exist? Was I not born?

Am I a spectre or a ghostly sprite?

Bring forth the snow and bring forth the storm,

Bring forth my death, if I cannot have life!

The battlefield clears, I reclaim my shield

My deepest scars are the ones that don’t bleed.

In the Theatre of War by Sara Dennis

Imagine if your war was fought daily,

in the living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom.

Your home is your theatre.

The supermarket is your theatre.

The bus, the car, the train –

these are all your theatres.

You are never off stage,

There is no intermission.

And when the final curtain falls,

And the theatre of war has cleared,

A new battle begins –

But this battle is worth the fight.

For at the end,

When you lay down your sword

And lower your shield,

You will be free,

And your war

Becomes a memory.


(In 10 easy steps!)

  1. Fill the kettle with water in preparation.
  2. The second you hear the psychopath’s feet hit the bedroom floor, switch on the kettle.
  3. Place teabag in cup: DO NOT ADD SUGAR OR MILK AT THIS POINT.
  4. Silently will the kettle to boil faster.
  5. Put the spoon, sugar bowl and milk carton beside the cup.                                               REMEMBER: you will have to act fast!
  6. Take deep breaths to ease your panic as you hear him cough, piss then start his decent down the staircase.
  7. As soon as the kettle clicks, pour boiling water onto the teabag, add two heaped teaspoons of sugar and a splash of milk.
    REMEMBER: he must have his tea very strong or there will be repercussions.
    TIP: Steady your hand as you pour the milk so as not to add too much.
  8. Stir quickly so the sugar dissolves as rapidly as possible. Ensure the spoon is removed from the cup before the psychopath enters the kitchen.
  9. Stand aside as psychopath takes a sip then throws the full cup into the sink as it is too hot/too cold/not sweet enough or in the wrong cup. REMEMBER: Do NOT attempt to clean up the broken crockery at this point.  This must be done later.  Wrap it in newspaper, preferably before he has chance to see it and dispose of it safely.
  10. Take another deep breath and a clean cup from the cupboard, rinse and repeat steps 1 – 10.

    Sara Dennis is a writer and musician from Guisborough, North Yorkshire, UK.  Her poetry and prose have been published in various literary magazines and her book, ‘Stories from the Memory Lane Café’, was published in 2017.  Sara has released three albums of original contemporary folk music and performs regularly around the UK.  Her work is infused with, fairy-tale imagery, magic realism, literature and historical inspiration. Sara is currently studying for an MA in Creative Writing.