He nods to one side

Gives in to a few minutes

Maybe half an hour’s worth of tiredness.

In his bungalow

Time is stood still

Mid afternoon melts in through the curtains

Through the half open window.

Outside impatient young mums

Scold their primary school children for wanting to go on the swings

When they just want to get back home

And plant them in front of the tv

While they get the fish fingers going

Inside his bungalow

Everything is as it always has been

Held under inspection

By the sun’s filtered rays

The six foot long tiger in front of the electric fire

Stands guard

The seven dwarves are stood


On top of the sofa

Along with the laughably home knitted hospice shop toys.

The painting

Simply called

The wedding

Takes pride of place

On the chimney breast

Depicting a long line of revellers


Following the soldier groom

Arm in arm with his traditional bride

It was bought by him

To celebrate their fiftieth anniversary

When his wife was

Still alive

She didn’t live long enough

To see the bungalow

The display cabinet

Bursts with notebook after notebook

Scrawled in by bored grandchildren

And full of pictures

Sums set by Grandad

And the odd,inexplicable

Spitting image style caricature

Of political leaders

Tony blair cropping up quite a bit

With extra large ears and buck teeth

Various sketches of brothers and sisters

Meant to ridicule each other

Sporting acne riddled faces

And giant noses

Mostly fill the rest of the pages

My Dad was a salvation army soldier once

Along with me Mum

And their papers of allegiance to the cause

Also rest in this cabinet

Amongst dads poetry he used to write

Or copy

Abou Ben Adem and

Wordsworth’s daffodil poem being particular favourites

Even a couple of mine from school are

Still there forty four years after they were written

It seems an age ago

We watched them enlist

And be happy enough

Visiting the sick

Making toasties and drinks

For worn out shoppers in the sally army’s

Town centre cafe

Albums by Jessie Matthews

Elaine Paige

Shirley Bassey

Matt Munro

Barbara Streisand

Are wedged beneath his stereo system

They’d often listen to music

While going about their business



Me Mum giving a little kick in the air

Signifying happiness now and then

Now the discs are played less often

And The bungalow is silent

For the most part

The home she’d never seen

“Thi Mam would have bloody loved it here”

He often says

His voice cracking slightly

He still sleeps

With her scarf close to his pillow

He swears he’s heard her breathing

On waking in the night

And kisses a passport sized photo of her

He’s awkwardly blu tacked to the kitchen wall above the cooker

Every time he’s in there


This was her domain

Batch baking bran loaf

Banana bread

Potato cakes

Christmas cake

Now it’s cupboards strain to contain

Bulk bought crisps

Cheap foreign chocolate

Cream filled biscuits

Cheesy nibbles in giant drums for 99p

Now he….

Does his best

Talks to her picture

As if she’s with him

Asks for her help

As he begins his day

And flicks the kettle on

“I kiss her picture every morning”

He says and I says to her

“Well May, what shall we have for t eat today then?”

“ I need thy help tha knows”

He’ll very often say as we share a chat

And a cup of tea

“Dust know summat?”

“Thi Mam would have bloody loved this bungalow”

His voice cracking again…

He’s right

It seems like an age since they were together.                                         

agefamilylonelyold man

◄ Her star

Caravan holiday ►


Frances Macaulay Forde

Fri 26th Jan 2018 23:07

So sad, but lovingly expressed. I've added you to my favourites.

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Philip Stevens

Fri 13th Oct 2017 11:24

Vivid... john an excellent read ... i see images not words... emotions stirred...

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chris yates

Thu 2nd Jun 2016 10:41

Perfectly captured imagery of our dad and how he lost the love of his life our mam he's never been the same without her but as he says "that gets used to being on thee own" even though he never as !
Touching tribute x c

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Harry O'Neill

Tue 24th May 2016 13:18

What a movingly lovely (and loving) poem.

I liked that first introductory stanza...particularly:

` Mid afternoon melts in through the curtains
Through the half open window`

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Tue 24th May 2016 01:01

Oh how I miss our poetry meetings in Leigh happy happy days and wow seems so long ago now m8. Your poems always make me feel calm. Speak soon

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Laura Taylor

Mon 23rd May 2016 15:09

Jon!! Blimey - didn't recognise you from your photo. You look on top of the world mate!

Anyway, just wanted to say that I love this poem. My dad lost my mum last June, and he speaks to her photo every day too. Awwwrr.

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