Auntie Rose


Auntie Rose
lived next door to us
here in Southwick.
Twenties flapper hat
Twenties clothes
Twenties shoes was 1964.
Faded, but still glamourous.
Retired buyer
for Debenhams of Brighton.
Never married.
Every Tuesday
after primary school
I'd go round for tea.
Tinned herring roes on toast
Cheese and onion crisps
a game of snap
then home to bed.
Every Tuesday
I'd marvel at her outside toilet
with the big spiders
her garden
with the stag beetles
her living room
with furniture from a bygone age
and a grandfather clock
from an even more bygone age
and her mantelpiece
crammed with stuff.
There were two pictures on it.
One of her as a little girl
standing with the Southwick football team
in the 1890s
and one of a man
standing in a field
leaning on a rifle.

I'd always wondered
so one day, aged about eight,
I asked the question.
'Auntie Rose,
Why did you never get married?'

She smiled.
Tears came to her eyes.
She pointed to the photo.

'The man in the photo
is the man I was going to marry.
He was killed in the First World War.
I never loved anyone else
So I never got married, John.
That's why'.

I looked at her.
'That's really sad, Auntie!'
She smiled bravely.
We had another game of snap.

familylossworld war one

◄ Latest huge batch of gigs! Posted 14 July 2014


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Mon 28th Jul 2014 05:05

That's a lovely snapshot of a character and of a memory. The beauty of poetry is that you can do it all in so few words and engage a reader, whether you choose to rhyme or not.

I love the way you chose to end it - life carrying on, the way it just does...

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attila the stockbroker

Sun 27th Jul 2014 12:39

My stuff doesn't have to rhyme
(Or at least not all the time)
And, Philip, I'm most forgiving...
Poetry earns me a good living :)

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Martin Elder

Sat 26th Jul 2014 20:22

Hi Attila
I like the poem Auntie Rosie it reminds of aging relatives of mine. southwick also reminds of walking to school in the sixties from Portslade village down to my school St Mary's.

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