“Empty Shoes” by Wendy Lawrence

This is a poem by Wendy Lawrence GMB Apex member and health & safety activist.  It was read at the closing of the International Workers Memorial Day event at Wisbech on 28th April 2015.

general strike 1926

No more footsteps on the path as you come home,  
I just sit here with my grief, so all alone
No key is turned by you in our front door,
No sound of walking to me across our floor,
I’ve cried so much my eyes are red and sore, 
Empty shoes, no more you – just empty shoes.

When the kids cry out “I want my Dad”
We cuddle up for comfort when we’re sad,
And we whisper that we miss you,
Want to hear your voice, be with you
We want and need to kiss you,
Left with memories – and empty shoes.

The boss sent you alone, to mend the roof
No harness, no mate – you fell with a “whoosh”
No safety there to guard your health
Your life forfeit to bring others wealth,
Now I’m without your dearest self
My empty arms – your empty shoes.

Your broken body lay in the dirt
Your lifeblood drained amidst your hurt,
To honour your great sacrifice
I hope your workmates unionise
And do it soon before another dies,
In remembrance of you – no more empty shoes.



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