‘Reluctant Oration’ and other poems by Fiona King


The last point of the quadrant remains to be drawn,
Out on the fringe of a shadowy dawn.
The air is still, devoid of all sound,
The raven encircles the battleground.
The troops are assembled, their swords held with poise,
To face the enemy engulfing his choice.
He arrives with his foe, emits a loud cry,
The prophetic bird falls dead from the sky.
Morning’s mist begins to fade,
The child is here, no longer afraid.



The couple play a childish game,
Their toys are guilt, betrayal, shame.
They scatter them across the floor,
Expose insecurities raw and sore.
Their song is angry, well-rehearsed,
A tune of sadness, bitterly versed.
Their painting, an unfinished mess,
Made in haste, under duress.
They dance a dance of hideous precision,
Wrong is right, final decision.
Nothing to lose and less to gain,
Familiar role play, hate and pain.
Their child looks on, he takes the blame,
Discarded toy in an adult game.


Deed is done, misdemeanour little,
Anger rises, no acquittal.
Shriek is sharp, the echo rings,
Room spins, skin stings.
Hot tears, salty lip,
‘Water please, just one sip,’
Words strangled, sound drowned,
Face of inequity gloriously crowned.
Door slams, key turns,
Legs weak, stomach churns.
Patterned flowers on the wall,
Footsteps thud and stab the hall.
Captive now in my own space,
Prisoner in this sacred place.
Fear abates, the edge is gone,
Acquiesce to what is wrong.
No apology required,
Guilty conscience long expired.



Faces staring, pressure loaded,
She fears she will be taunted, goaded.
Hands moist, mouth dry,
Self-expectation running high.
She takes a stand, she’s on display,
Composure falls to disarray.
Blood pumps, breath claimed,
The sound emerges, wounded, maimed.
She perseveres, an uphill battle,
Spectators whisper, chairs rattle.
Her colour deepens, voice shakes,
Seeks perfection, makes mistakes.
They cast their judgement, mark their score,
Perverse entertainment, wanting more.
Silence falls, she concedes,
Last remnant of strength, fades, recedes.
Emotions naked, reserve depleted,
Feigned applause, occasion defeated.

Reluctant Oration and other poems are © Fiona King

Fiona King is a married mother of four from East Cork. She is currently on career break from her job as a primary school teacher, to care for her youngest son, Adam (in picture). Adam is 3 years old, and has a genetic condition called Osteogenesis imperfecta, a brittle bone condition. In recent months, She has begun to reflect on the arrival of her precious boy into this world and has found the best way to express her thoughts and feelings through verse. From this, she wrote the poem ‘Birth’. After this creative expression, deeper reflections from my past inspired her to write further, on experiences with emotions of such gravity that they stay with her. 

Irish Times report on Fiona King

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