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by Felmagre 

Posted: 10 September 2003
Word Count: 318

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I see the tea bags hanging out to dry;
my heart, it sinks, again!
This means, of course, she's gambled,
next weeks food away.
Slot machines, I wish they were alive;
I'd kick and shout and scream at them.
I'd plead, and want a ban imposed
to stop them being fed;
when back at home we starve.

You see, when tea bags hang to dry
that's only just the start;
for underneath the floorboards,
are bills of ever kind,
It could, of course, be worse;
though gambling's bad enough;
but drinking,well, my Dad does that;
I'm use to it by now,
as he's done it for so long.

But Mum, her gambling's something new;
it's only just begun.......
she start, it to pay the bills.
then made a win, a little one,
so now she gambles every day ,
and cannot seem to stop.
Of course, I cannot tell my friends,
No matter, but it would be nice
to have a normal life.

I know they sometimes wonder,
why I never ask them in.
then food and warmth, within my home,
comes in stops and starts.
and every now and then;
the furniture it walks;
another thing, my mother says,
she forgot to pay.

So I find it very strange
that politicians change the rules
to make it that much easier ,
for mum to spend my dinner money,
on roulette wheels and slot machines
and get nothing in return.
I can't think why the've done this,
Now life is that bit harder;
though tough enough before.

So all of this has made me think,
that when I reach my mothers age
I'll have a bank account,
I'll pay my bills, not take on debt
not drink nor feed machines,
I'll make my tea with tea bags from a box.
and cook and feed myself..
Though, just right now , I'm hungry,
so I'd settle for some chips.

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Comments by other Members

spud at 17:43 on 10 September 2003  Report this post
I love the way that you slowly reveal who is 'reciting' the poem. At first I thought it was the husband. The my heart ached when I realised it was her child and the powerlessness of his/her predicament. However the resolve for the future gives the piece hope,the teabags added a touch of humour and the questions posed cover politics - what value for money.



olebut at 10:47 on 11 September 2003  Report this post

a very poignant and effective way of highliighting what is sadly an all too common social problem

if I have aview it is that possibly this is a little overlong, but I suffer from that problem with some of my poems as well, the difficult bit is knowing when to stop isnt it. especially if you have much to say and the juices are flowing.

I must admit unlike Spud I thought it was written from a childs perspective at the start, but like all 'victims' you manage to still add that touch of humour and hope, You have a knack for reality poems, perhaps one of the anti gambling organisations may be interested in your poem it would work as a little playlet or film

images of the desolation with the poem narrated over the top ?

well done anyway



Felmagre at 12:41 on 11 September 2003  Report this post
Hello Spud, David,

Interestingly I had not realised that this was able to be read from anything other than a child's perspective until after your comment spud, so I cannot ake credit for being 'clever'.

The 'spark' for this one came when I was asked to help out a family who had become trapped by debt as a result of the mother's gambling. Whilst the tea-bag picture is something I have used to highlight, in a softer way, the plight of children and families caught up in the proble, this was a daily reality for the family I was involved with.

So your comment about reality poems , David, is I am beginning to see part and parcel of who I am, the way I cope and express my take on life. Can be a little gloomy at times thouhg, mind you I do try and infuse a level of lightness and humour wherever possible.

Thank you both again for your endurance, as I would agree it is a long poem this one, comments, supportive feedback. It really is very much apprecaited.

PS Will try and make sure the next one is a little shorter.


Barney at 18:50 on 11 September 2003  Report this post
A thoughtful response on an all-too-real problem in today's society. Your poem illuminates it very well, and read by certain people would bring home a few home truths (if not the bacon). If a poem can do that then it's got to be good.



Tina at 19:01 on 11 September 2003  Report this post
I like the unravelling of this story.I liked the length of the poem = it is like the endless days that this child lives through.

I thought as I read it through that if you used some technique to highlight the end of the stanzas it might emphasise the desperate feelings of the child.

Possibly a repeated line or rhyming couplet might augment the images of hoplessness and anger that the child is living through here.

For example in the second stanza

are bills of every kind.
Electric Rates and Credot cards
not uppermost in her mind.


and now she gambles everyday
and cannot seem to stop -
and cannot seem to stop
and now she gambles everyday
and cannot seem to stop.

To me this highlights the inexhorable quality of the day to day existence for this kid? What do you think? Just an idea.

Hope these thoughts are useful

Thanks I really enjoy your work


Felmagre at 10:26 on 12 September 2003  Report this post
Hello Barney,
Thank you for taking the time and trouble to write down your thoughts on this poem. You have no idea how reasuring the kind of constructive feedback that folk on this sight give can be to those of us learning the ropes.

With respect to the poem I am pleased to know the mood has been captured, as like you I am aware this is an increasingly common problem. Children these days are born old.

Thank you again, it is apprecaited.

Felmagre at 10:31 on 12 September 2003  Report this post
Hello Tina,
Yes I can see your point, children are not really that worried about these things, though I must say in this instance the childen concerned, the eldest imparticular, were carrying adult worries.

May I take time to look again at your proposals and the overal structure of the poem before commenting.

I would, however, just say how very much I appreciate your taking the time, not simply to read it but to look at it in detail and then put your comments in writing. Truly the genorisity of the writing community on this site is really something.

Thank you again, it is apprecaited.

Meena at 12:29 on 23 September 2003  Report this post
Fel magre

Well I am reading your work and liking it very much. This poem to me was sad,a lonely voice of a child to come to terms with day to day life with the only person who could give him or her a life. A social problem, an age old, ancient addiction. I suppose we never learn and if your poem is read by lots maybe reality will awaken in them.


Felmagre at 09:06 on 04 November 2003  Report this post
Hello Meena
I apologize for not replying to your kind comments. I have, unfortunately, been extremely busy. Very hectic time of year for my professsion, not time to be creative I'm afraid just at the moment.

Kind regards

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