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BEFRIENDING

Her days of housework are over.
She has to live with the dust.
She would say to me, “Come on over.
You’re the only one I trust”

Her days of not cleaning the windows
Scar the incoming sun.
A curtain flaps
Where its hook unwraps.
The repair has not been done.

Her days of action suspended.
She sits upright in her chair.
An old lady I’ve befriended.
She refuses to go into care.

There are many old people
Liviing in isolation.
What they really need is
Lively conversation.

She is deaf. Her eyesight is poor.
She is aged ninety three.
Nothing happens anymore.
She’s content just to rest and be.

There’s a splendid view from her home.
East London spreads out below.
You can clearly see the Dome
Lit up in the sky’s rosy glow.

Reader, pause for a while.
Say a prayer for such as she.
I can still see her bravely smile
As she waves goodbye to me.

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TO MUMMY

Did you raise my face to the sun
To show me a glittering fountain?
Did I paddle and seem to have fun
When the hill seemed like a mountain.
Did you keep me in your sight
As I walked on the edge of a wall?
Did you feel a spasm of fright
Afraid that I might fall?

When my feet trod grass so green
And the sky above seemed immense
Did you try to keep me clean
And use lots of common sense?
You must have held my hand
And pushed the pram with your other.
Did you help me to understand
Why my new sister wasn’t a brother.

When the slow walk home was long
And the sunny road seemed endless
Did you often sing a song
Yet sometimes seem so friendless.
Your life given to us children
At times was fulfilling
Showing us a world that you
Seemed to find so thrilling.

Sometimes with an empty purse
You sat in a park content.
You were married for better or worse.
I know now what that meant.
With the dimming of the light
And the fading of the day.
You read to us at night
Then softly went away.

Now as I sit near a fountain
Of cascading water I know
How very much you loved us.
All that long time ago.

TO A WELSH GRANDFATHER

When the rain fell softly in my hair
The Welsh in me became aware.
I thought of my grandfather long dead.
To me in Wales, what would he have said?
As a London woman, part Irish, Welsh
And Scot
I know that my being in Wales
Would have meant to him a lot.
Next, I’ll visit Ireland
To remember his wife.
Perhaps I’ll just continue here as a
Loving wife.
If we cross to the emerald isle
I’d love the Irish songs,
But it’s really here in London
That my Celtic soul belongs.

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE

He wore a turban when he
First came here
For faith in Sikh religion
Was sincere.

The school boys laughed
Because his hair was long.
His skin being dark
He seemed not to belong.

He asked his mother
Would she cut his hair?
She sighed then said
In quiet despair.

“It is our culture,
That is all I’ll say
Now please forget
What you have said today.”

So he went to his father
And he wept.
The next day his father said
He had not slept.

At last he said, “you’re old
Enough to choose,
But first consider all that
You may lose”

“Do not forget
Your family name
Nor the great faith
From which it came.”

He cut the boy’s hair
And showed no fear
But on his hand there fell
A shining tear.

He softly gathered up
The fallen hair,
Then bent his turbaned
Head in silent prayer.

MEANWHILE

She can listen to opera
While he is gone
And let her gaze fall
Where the sunlight has shone
Leaving a pool of golden light,
She can enjoy being alone despite
The empty room;
It contains no gloom
She can paint, write or dream.
Though his presence may seem
Rare these days, he is always out
But if that is all there is
To complain about,
She will not protest.
No not she,
But will enjoy life’s happiness
Content just to be.

BEAUTY IN THE LIGHT

How lovely in the morning light
My mother’s face so young despite
Her age of ninety years and three
So beautiful she seemed to me.

Enhanced by make up it is true
Her peach skin shone. Her eyes were blue.
Deep royal blue the coat she wore
When she stepped out of her front door..

Her stature small. Her will power strong.
She always brought her dog along:
A Yorkie straining at the lead
Trying to get her up to speed.

Of all the people that they met
Not many of them will forget
The spirited and humorous talk
Of this old lady on her walk.

Now she’s gone, on mornings clear
When out, I sometimes feel her near
And thanking God for the bright sun,
I pray she’s with him having fun.