A Shitey Poem For Shitey Saturday – The Stolen Shoes


The Stolen Shoes


When I escaped from the mental hospital

I stole a pair of shoes,

pretty shoes,

prettier than my own black institutional uglies.

The stolen shoes were white and unworn,

immaculate, clean, soft leather mysteries,

with golden eyelets

threaded through with blue ribbons for laces.

They belonged to Mary, Mother of God,

who slept in the bed next to mine

and woke me in the night with her snoring. 

She was an odd one. 

She wrapped beads round her left thigh, like a bride’s garter,

and draped an old scrap of lace over her head for a veil.

I don’t know why she did this;

she had never been married – she hadn’t even kissed a man –

she was sectioned when she was ten.

At the dinner table she whispered Hail Marys to herself

as her porridge, or her lamb stew, or her custard 

dribbled onto her blouse.

Once, she stole all the pears and hid them in her locker –  

the ward stank but it took days for the nurses to find out

where the smell was coming from.


Every Friday morning, before breakfast,  

the stolen shoes were brought out and laid on her bed.

She looked at them for a short while then put them away.

Every Friday morning without fail.  

I don’t think she noticed me looking at them too.


The stolen shoes didn’t get me very far;

I put them on before I climbed out of the window  

and ran as fast as I could across the grass, 

but they were too small – or my feet were too big –

the soles split when I reached the wall

and started to climb the ladder I had bribed the gardener to place there for me.

I nearly cried when I had to leave those shoes behind in the rose bed. 



Leave a comment


  1. Dear Dotty, this is the most inspiring shitey poem for shitey saturday I have ever read.

  2. Peaches

     /  August 11, 2012

    Dear Dotty,
    Your ward mate sounds like a very interesting character.

  3. Dear Dotty,

    Some powerful writing, for sure!



  4. Dear Dotty,

    I disagree. This is not shitey at all.

    xoxo Mme Weebles

  5. You have to watch out at these places – I mean, you were eyeing up her shoes, but what of yours might she have been planning on stealing if you’d not made your escape?

  6. Another note to self…Hide my shoes from Dotty….

  7. So much for the notion of walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.

  8. It would be very tempting to see those shoes, not have them, and want them. I can see why you would steal the pretty shoes. Sorry it didn’t work out. Made a good poem though 🙂

  9. I was expecting shite. Nothing shitey here.

  10. Whatever happened to Mary? Did you ever find out?

  11. Loved it Dotty – not even a mention of cumberland sausage!

    • Dear ginger,

      That’s why I had to escape, they didn’t give me Cumberland sausages, just fish butties and a dry bit of wafer for pudding.

      Love Dotty xxx

  12. Dear Dotty

    I laughed at the pears.

    Best wishes,

  13. Beautiful… but you don’t really need shoes… now that you can fly…

  14. Mel

     /  August 12, 2012

    I was going to write the word Beautiful and then post that and just that but then I noticed that the previous commenter wrote the word beautiful. So I had to think of a new way to tell you that I think this a beautiful poem and that it nearly made me cry when you had to leave those shoes behind but I couldn’t think of one and I’m sorry.

  15. Great poem – very powerful.


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