Emma Lee

The Sea’s Prompt
Margaret Haig-Thomas, Vicountess Rhondda, founded Time and Tide magazine, five years after surviving the sinking of the Lusitania. During her lifetime she was barred from taking her hereditary seat in the House of Lords.  

My bed is in motion, rising and falling, I reach out
but don’t find the board that kept me afloat.
I remember the darkness, a clang, losing sensation.
Drifting in that cusp between awake and dreaming.
I’m real. But this isn’t and it’s not a dream.
My mind playing, reminds me I was saved.
There must have been some purpose.
I watch other women adrift – no control 
over their destinations, no say in decisions 
taken for them, no money, no property, 
lives built on shifting sands and they resign 
themselves to take less than they deserve.
They need their voices heard, to show their humanity.
After rescue, I still feel that borrowed greatcoat, 
the authority of a uniform, the assurance of status.
I will give these women a space to speak.
When I petition to take my place in the House of Lords
their voices will sustain and amplify me, even if I fail.
Even as each night the rise and fall of the sea
tilts me into sleep. Time and tide pulls me awake.

Emma Lee’s publications include ‘The Significance of a Dress’ (Arachne, 2020) and ‘Ghosts in the Desert’ (IDP, 2015). She co-edited ‘Over Land, Over Sea’ (Five Leaves, 2015), is Poetry Reviews Editor for The Blue Nib, reviews for magazines and blogs at  http://emmalee1.wordpress.com.