Thus I Wrote

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I remember her
Standing with hands on hips
In that stone floored kitchen
With her tongue stuck out
In defiance and impotent fury
Behind my grandmother’s back

She was but twenty three, a young bride
With two children already
And another on the way
With two elderly parents to tend to
With an old farmhouse to clean
With hens, pigs, cattle and geese to feed
With produce to collect and harvest

She had no indoor toilet
Or carpets
Or central heating
Or running water
Or electric light
Or friends
Or family nearby.

When the storms came
My father tied the thatched roof down.
He brought turf for the open fire
And sold milk to buy clothes, tea and sugar

My mother cried when the pig was killed
Every year to feed us for the year.
She despaired of the dirt
And the wayward animals
And her wayward children
And her needy parents-in-law

She was a blow-in
And they were scornful
Of her lack of land and of her education.
He was too good for her.

They could not see the love
She brought in bucket-loads
And armfuls,
And how she lit up that cold house.

But then as she always said
An empty vessel makes most sound.

She was Christian indeed
and not just on Sunday
She has a well of strength
And her laugh is infectious
And addictive.
She attracted people to her
And over time won them all over.

Save my grandmother
Who had a secret hurt
That she never shared
But which stifled her love
For her one and only son.

My mother spent her life
Trying to repair that wound,
And at the end of his life
It seemed she finally succeeded.

He loved her and was loved
By her and knew it to be so.
With such love there is no fear
And he died, as much as we can know,
in peace.

Written by thus.i.wrote

November 25, 2012 at 8:42 pm

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