Distant Voices, Still Live
I once wrote a poem
about wanting Gordon Brown to be my Dad,
but Richard and Judy were the parents
I really wished that I had had.
In our living rooms every day,
ordinary and nice,
chatting to stars, celebrities and Keith Chegwin,
giving recipes and advice.
Streakers on the weather map,
guests without their clothes,
testicles and traumas
and “Ooh, we’ve had one of those”.
They became spokespeople for the nation,
everywoman and everyman,
your mates, that couple you met on holiday,
a student’s surrogate Dad and Mam.
Parents become broadcast voices
you replay in your head,
“Be good”, “Be quiet” “Be prepared”,
“Don’t be alone with Uncle Ned”.
Even now, some inventive individuals,
with a perverse streak in their souls,
are wishing they were being raised
by Sian Williams and Richard Coles.
The voices in Richard’s Madeley’s head
never stayed in there for long,
but Judy would speak up sensibly
if he went too far or got it wrong.
and they are as unthinkable separately
as an Ant would be without a Dec,
or a Lib without a Dem,
a bloomin without a heck.
Couples who’ve been together for ages
hear the other’s voice in their head,
and they’ll still be able to hear them
when their other half’s away or dead.
Then there’s those other demanding voices,
yelling down’s life’s earpiece.
Now Judy’s have been silenced
and she’s feeling the release.
No more soap stars plugging songs,
no more tossers on pancake day
no more babble and burble and bubble
no more talkers with nothing to say.
A dreaming space in Cornwall,
a kitchen table by the sea,
being able to hear the voices that come
when you let yourself float free.
Many of us wish we could write a novel,
but end up going down the pub,
instead of getting our magnum opus
into the Richard and Judy Book Club
Something of us that will live on
longer than footprints in the sand,
a tangible achievement,
words you can hold in your hand.
But even if we don’t manage that,
our voices will resound and echo,
in the chambers of our loved ones heads,
in the places we used to go.
We can be heard again like a programme on iPlayer,
a podcast you can download any time,
the voice of a person you love
living forever on repeat in your mind.