Thursday, 3 December 2015

War widow

Dorothy Charlotte Biggs, 3.12.1915 to 29.1.1985

On this day, when we are at war again, I am particularly remembering my mother on her centenary.
Dorothy Charlotte Biggs
December 3rd 1915 – January 29th, 1985

She was a lone parent to two girls for several years after her first husband was killed in action in the Dambuster raids in 1943. She was widowed twice in her life - her second husband, my dad, died in 1978.

She wasn’t the only woman of her generation – or of any other age – to experience what war can do to families. There are many still becoming widows today. And as we go to war again, this poem is for my mum and for all the war widows everywhere, then and now.
This poem is set in London in World War II.

War widow

The telegram is on the table,
their Daddy’s dead.
Their Daddy’s dead,
a hero, but not here, never here, now.

The bombs are falling on the street,
the earth shifts, the world crumbles,
while the silence in her soul – cracks –
and explodes into a thousand unshed tears.
Devastation is all around,
but her house stands firm.
Her two lovely daughters are under the stairs,
clinging together.

She stands, quiet and still in the dark kitchen,
the lump in her throat suffocates,
but it keeps the feelings down.

Life is calm and steady for her girls,
while only deadness fills her empty broken heart
and a cold numb stone fills her stomach –
all her days and all her nights.

And when both her loves were gone,
she stood firm in the ruins of her world,
and never let her twice-broken heart bleed into our lives.