An Educated Susan

A response to Educating Rita, a play by Willy Russell.

planted people with roots deeper than
any aged crumbling well
a pre-determined patina that pretended growth
and dealt out dreams already dead

dreams only considered at 4.48am
when she sits in the same scuffed armchair
reading literature by the weak early morning sunlight
always slightly out of step with the world around

the rooms she lived in? they were always hazy
see, the walls smoked too, clinging to her everything
they needed airing and sunlight and more than
what she was permitted in her cracked plastic pot

too long had she existed seeking out
surface satisfactions, recycled music
new dresses and men who forgot
her even before the kiss goodbye

synthetic escapism and drug habits
simulated gratification; burdened head nodding
to the single tune the jukebox sung
only spying Gardens through accidental cracks

she tugged the needle from her vein
and woke to the smell of burning books
learnt that Fate is an addict in disguise
that all addicts want company

and so, as her pot began to melt
she chose to become Fate
silently packed away those dresses and
swore against cheap cotton certainties

see, wherever you plant life, it will grow
to fill out the cracks and negative space
But why be content with moss and weeds
when a garden could be grown?

Slowly, from diseased routine and a crude
silent violence, she bloomed. now?
she discusses the meaning of life
as she trims her old, browned leaves

when crisp spring blessed her garden
she stirred the air with her voice:
she had found a better song to sing –
one not taught by a failing jukebox.