Lockdown Musing

Lockdown Musing

Work quietly while I’m out, you said
So we painted our houses
with four windows and a door
curtains and a chimney,
and a fat yellow sun in the corner of the paper.

Work quietly while I’m out, you said
So we painted our finger nails
with pink paint designed for paper
and laughed and thought how
grown up we were.

Work quietly while I’m out, you said
So we flicked paper balls
with a ruler
and chatted and laughed when
someone drew rude things
on the board.

Now I’m home and my laptop is
the only witness to my PJs
and my fifteen coffee breaks and my waste bin
basket ball and my phone calls to my friends
And I wonder why I wasn’t taught how to
work quietly while I’m out.

My Queen

I saw the disappointment in your eyes
when you realised what I’d brought you.
You expected caviar and Parma Ham
So when I brought in lamb instead
You blinked at me and silently walked out of the room
and lay down with your back to me
Impervious to my pleas to come and eat.
Later, you listened quietly as I promised to do better
In the future.

Next day.
I saw the resentment in your eyes
when you realised what I’d brought you.
You expected succulent lamb,
so when I brought you caviar and Parma Ham
You blinked at me and walked silently out of the room
and lay down with your back to me
Impervious to my pleas to come and eat.
Later, you listened quietly as I promised to do better
In the future.

In the middle of the night I woke
and planned how I would do better
I would find something special for you, my Queen
But when I came into the kitchen
you’d taken matters into your own hands.
I saw the forgiveness in your eyes as you
dropped the gift you’d brought me,
at my feet.

Still Serving

75 years on
poppies fell again
on shoulders, hats and helmets
as men and women who serve today
stood in tribute to the fallen..
Round them, unseen,
men and women
who once lived and laughed
fought and died
gathered around to watch.
stood at the shoulders of the
people who had taken their places.
placed hands on shoulders
and passed on the baton.
When a mother
shared the story of the daughter
she had lost, unseen hands held hers
and wiped her tears.
At the Royal Chelsea Hospital
Proud men and women donned
their scarlet coats and tricorn hats
and marched with backs straight
and heads held high,
and didn’t know their ranks
were swelled with those that went before:
that the mates they thought were gone
were marching with them, still young,
still proud, and still serving.

Belief

Once we laid ‘neath moonlit sky
and stared at stars that shone above
and in our innocence believed the song
and hoped to catch a falling star.
At Christmas time we stared through glass
and listened hard for tinkling bells
convinced ourselves that we could see
a sleigh and reindeer rise at speed
and silhouette against the moon..
Now, grown up ,and taking my turn
to tell the stories to little ones
who stare with wonder through the glass
I don’t admit that somewhere deep inside
is that little girl who still believes.

Year Circling

Seas churning
rivers running
rain falling
mood swinging
autumn dying
darkness falling
winter coming
Seas calming
rivers freezing
snow falling
snowman building
dogs barking
Christmas coming
lights twinkling
mothers wrapping
fathers working
children laughing
toys breaking
new year dawning
hope ascending
snowdrops peeping
birds cheeping
springs coming
egg laying
sunlight glinting
gardens waking
earth warming
gardeners planting
sunshine heating
mood lifting
children playing
bike riding
football kicking
picnic eating
people walking
sun shining
days shortening
trees preparing
squirrels hiding
wind blowing
leaves falling
autumn coming
year circling.

Cry today but not tomorrow.

Cry today, but not tomorrow
I know today you’re full of sorrow
I have left, but I still love you
Want to see you smiling through.
Sometimes tears will overcome you
Sometimes laughter will as well,
I will watch to see you smiling.
sharing jokes that others tell.

When it’s Christmas, or my birthday
Play my favourite songs again
Talk about me, leave me flowers
By my picture, not the grave.

I’ll be waiting here
to greet you,
when you come to join me here
until then, I’ll send you presents,
feathers, messages of cheer.

Autumn

She woke in the morning to the promise of a new week

and when she looked again,

that week was over.

September had come and gone

and October was here,

with its promise of harvest

for the birds and small animals

before they faced the hardships of winter.

For her, October meant the time to start preparing

for her own winter.

She didn’t know that winter was closer than she’d hoped

and that as the weeks rushed by she would realise

that spring would not be coming, for her.

Didn’t we have a lovely time

Didn’t we have a lovely time
The week we went to Chester
We sat in our cottage
And looked at the view
Had picnics in the garden
And took a drive or two.

We watched the TV
In order to see
Where COVID was heading
And if it was spreading
And if it was slower at home.

The pubs were all heaving
And people were leaving
Their worries behind
At the door.
The beer made it worth it
Who cares if they caught it
And spread it and bought it
You have to die sometime
Of course.

So we sat in our cottage
Ate chocolate, drank whisky
Stayed safe in our bubble of two
We laughed and we chatted
We cooked and we ate
And walked round the garden a bit
At the end of the week we
Looked back on our treat
And agreed that our holiday
Was great.

Promises

You promised me roses when we first met
In those heady days when love was new.
You promised me sunshine
and walks by the sea
and teashops and meals out
flights to warm places
and love and you
always there to hold me
when things were bad.
I promised to love you
support you, and care,
no matter what happened,
I’d always be there.
Back then we were active
and life was a dream
we both kept our promises
and love has grown deeper
I still get my roses
you get your care
ill health isn’t easy
but I’ll always be there
I love and adore you
in times bad and good
Your promises were kept
and mine will be too
Remember, my darling
I’ll always love you.

Ada’s Week

On Monday she washes, lighting the gas under her copper and choosing the cleanest things to go in first. Her hands raw from the washing soda as she hoists the clothes aloft on her copper stick, and dumps them into a sink of cold water, to rinse and rinse again. Her back aches and seems to creak when she carries the enamel tub through to the back yard, where she pulls out the heavy mangle from its place by the outhouse wall, wipes the rollers clean, then starts to push the wet washing between the rollers with one hand, while she turns the handle with the other. The tin bath she’s placed on the ground to catch the mangled washing, will be used later for its intended purpose, put in the only warm place in the room, a few feet from the black-leaded grate.
She was up early this morning, preparing scrag end and vegetables, and putting the dish into the little black oven by the fire, knowing that was the only time she’d have to cook.
On Tuesday she covers her table with layers of blanket and an old worn sheet, and sets her three irons to heat by the fire. A drop of water or a flick of spit tells her when the iron is hot, and she sets to work, pressing down hard to make sure she doesn’t leave a crease. She sings as she works, trying to ignore the soreness in the palms of her hands.
On Wednesday she bakes. Fresh bread for her family, who tell her they won’t eat “that shop-bought muck”. A stone of flour and fresh yeast unweighed, and no machine to help with the kneading. Then while the dough proves, more baking to go in the oven by the fire, apple pies and seed cake.
Thursday, and it’s market day. She thinks of it as a day off as she travels into town on the bus, her treat, a cup of tea in the tea bar in Woolworths, sitting high on the red swivel stool which is screwed into the floor, and chatting to the lady behind the counter. By her feet, two big shopping bags, filled with the meat and veg for the week, chosen from the stalls in the covered market. She’d had to keep stopping to rest her hands and arms, but thankfully the bus stop isn’t far away.
On Friday it’s time to change the beds, ready for washing on Monday, then dusting and sweeping upstairs, before coming down and cleaning the front room, which hadn’t been used since last week, because it’s only used for best. Then into the kitchen, where newspaper is laid out on the table and the brasses are moved from the fireplace, and polished, and the big fireplace, with its oven and brass rail, is polished until it’s gleaming, with black lead. The brasses are covered with a cloth, ready to be put back on Sunday morning, when the house must look its best, in case of visitors.
On Saturday the men, having worked all week, finish at midday, then come home for a wash and a sleep, ready to go the pub or the Working Mens Club in the evening.
Sunday morning sees the brasses, bright and gleaming, returned to their places on the fireplace and hearth. The joint is in the oven. More pies and buns are baked for tea. Vegetables are peeled and chopped, dinner is cooked and served, Washing up done, It’s an easy day. Sunday, Ada’s day of rest.

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