the old lady at the palace

royal guard standing near lamp post
Photo by Samuel Wölfl on

She stands at the railings in her tartan coat,

Her shopping trolley pulled behind, her shoes

Scuffed with age and yet she clings

To the iron rails, looking at the window lit

Ready for a broadcast to the nation.

She wonders what it would be like to have

A life played out so publicly, so different

To her own life, lonely now her husband’s gone.

Now all she does is trundle past the palace to

A local Tesco’s where she buys her bread and eggs

And sometimes bags of sugared donuts, a treat

That surely she deserves. She wonders if

The Queen will eat some donuts too,

When she’s feeling sad. She wonders if she is alone

Or if her children gather round. She wonders if

The Queen will need a friend. She needs a friend

And she’d like to meet the Queen, have some tea,

Pat her hand and tell her it’ll all be fine,

Just hold on and give it time.


Your ghost is always there,

It doesn’t matter how much time may pass,

Or where I am or who I’m with.

The swish of colours in the street,

It warps the faces of those figures.

Each and every one the same.

They all become the face I want to see.

It’s you.

How many crowds or queues

Do I search and find that ghost

The ghost of you who dances through

The other guests who fade away.

Because it’s only you that I can see

Since that day you left.

I want a partner in this dance,

But you are gone and no matter

How very hard I try to search,

How many times I think your face is there,

You’re not.

You’re gone.

It breaks my heart but I must dance


I’ll see you all the time,

But they are ghosts who grace the parquet floor,

Waltzing and whirling.

One day I’ll learn, it can’t be you.

It’s just a ghost I want to see.

Ever lost someone that you loved so much it hurt? If you have then you probably know that feeling of seeing them every place you go. I got married when I was nineteen. I loved the guy so much and we had a child together. But then he left me and I was heartbroken. For years I thought that I saw him in crowds even though I knew that it couldn’t possibly be him. It was like there was a ghost haunting me every day of my life. If I’m being honest, I still sometimes think I catch a glimpse of that man and we are thirteen years on.

Sometimes people leave our lives and it’s a traumatic experience. This poem is about that feeling of seeing your loved one everywhere even when you know that it can’t possibly be them. For me it felt like I was in a ballroom and everyone around me was a dancer, swirling around, and I could just catch a glimpse of somebody with the same hair or the same eyes as my husband. It was haunting and ghostly and I hope that this poem captures this feeling.

I’m sure you have felt this at some point and I hope that reading about my experience can help you to feel better. We all miss somebody and hope that they are nearby, even if we know that they are far away or they have died. It’s part of the human experience to feel this pain and confusion. It sucks but feel comforted by the fact that you are not alone.

Much love,

Rachel xx

A Poem For Those Who Are Grieving

I sometimes feel that poetry needs to be performed rather than just put down on paper to be read. And for that reason I’ve put this one up on Youtube. I know of a few people who have lost family recently and it’s crushing to now that they are going to go through Christmas feeling sad and lonely. I wanted to write this poem to give their pain a voice. Nothing will make it easier but it’s sometimes nice to know that we all go through these painful experiences and we are all there to lean on one another in times of need.

If you are struggling with the grief of losing a loved one this Christmas please do speak to a friend or a doctor or call the Samaritans. There are so many people out there who can help you through the worst of it. You don’t need to suffer in silence.