Our Gran

You with your tidy box of tales
a potted journey spanning wars
momentous histories pocketed
like clean handkerchiefs into the day
by days, by decades; all eight of them.

Big hands that defied the devil's work
frequently floured, lathered or  gloved
(always wool or cotton for excursions).
Conjuring home in steamy odours;
cooking pots with rattling lids
Monday's soapy boiler, and cakes
sponged with jam, that magically
rose in time for tea.
Evenings we sucked peppermints
and learned to sew and knit
whilst you cabled jumpers, darned holes
pushed yards of cloth through the Singer
which chugged like the sound of trains
tracking behind the park.
From the library came books, stacks of them
nothing too highbrow; histories, biographies
mostly travellers' tales for crossing the globe
by rocking chair.

Sucked into the silence
of a husband's small, deaf world
pouring out snatches of song
childhood chronicles and a love
that had no voice. Only the feel
of a blanket, cosseting and warm
against the harsh realities we all knew.

A biographical tale for Sarah’s Poetics prompt: “Grandmothers

47 thoughts on “Our Gran

  1. Clean handkerchiefs – I remember them! We used to give them to my grandmother at Christmas with a little bottle of her favourite scent, Your gran is so similar to mine, Laura. I love this poem

  2. Well, near an engraving for its dimensionality and ability to invoke that iconic person – grandmother. Was many years afore I realized not all grandmothers were as ideal as was mine. Rude realization. Yours here fits that first engaging silouette. Nicely done.

  3. I love that ending. My granny offered that warmth and safety, too. How lucky we are! I liked those big hands “defying the devil’s work”.

  4. Beautiful Laura. I am conjuring up the grandmother I never had, borrowing from the memories being shared for this prompt.

    1. Me too – I have to invent my grandmothers, the London one from novels, and snippets from my mother. The New Zealand one left no tales – but a thank you letter for a journey together before my father emigrated (to London …

  5. I remember when handerchiefs were cotton, and girls and women wore white gloves. All the proprieties back then, before the world spun off into life without any at all. I enjoyed every line of your poem.

  6. Echoing K., your grandmother left you with the sweetest (and most industrious) of memories. Lovely, Laura.

  7. Such a heartfelt poem Laura. I could visualise your grandmother. Sadly only one of mine was alive when I was born and she died when I was six so I have no real memories of her. I remember as a child I was always envious of my friends who used to visit their granny for Sunday tea.

  8. The handkerchiefs were folded in triangles 😊
    Luv your grandmother poem Laura


  9. Grandmothers are the best for children. The gap stays as a favorite memory for ages to come. Singer Sewing Machines. That pedal sound: I know it so well from my mother’s sewing that lulled us to sleep. thanks for sharing this loveliness. Blessing you

  10. Oh the images this poem evokes! Both imaginary and ones from my own grandmothers; just wonderful.

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