She says ordering her groceries from Tesco's Online always makes her cry.

The miserable thick cut sliced ham

And sordid corned beef slices.

Always too much for one on their own.

Most of it thrown away.

I offer Grandma a hug.

No, no hugs now dear, she says.

She fears her brittle bones couldn't take the strain of a hug.

Though he's a good hugger, she says, that Gavin Westbrook . . .

Gareth Southgate grandma.

He's a good hugger.

I remember when her house was filled with the smell of fresh baking

And home cooking and caramel and stewed what's-it.

She bought all her vegetables fresh from the market then, no plastic.

That was when he was alive,

When the NHS promised he would live forever.

She watches a bit of telly but avoids the Soaps.

They're all crying and grieving and having a baby, she says.

Everyone's pregnant now, even the men !

Grandma, why did you move two hundred miles away ?

It was after her husband died.

It was the rapes dear, she says, and the crimes

And they were building a motorway through her house.

His grave is hundreds of miles away, she wails,

I don't talk to a soul here.

Strange how someone can be so isolated in such an overcrowded world.

She looks through the window at a scene she no longer understands.

Blows her nose, mustn't grumble, she says.

Mustn't grumble.

She is of the mustn't grumble generation

She's seen it all and stays quiet.


◄ The Collar

The Guitar Man ►


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Hannah Collins

Mon 16th Jul 2018 20:40

Thank you for your comment Mike and for the link to your poem.


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mike booth

Mon 16th Jul 2018 18:25

Great poem hannah. I love the gentle way you capture her quirks and show such warmth. Love "She is of the mustn't grumble generation / She's seen it all and stays quiet. " there really is a mustn't grumble generation who are struggling with the quirks of the modern world. I just posted Hi Tech Granny on a similar theme....

thanks for this, Hannah! the simple statement of complex feelings, as Auden would say....
M x

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Hannah Collins

Fri 13th Jul 2018 21:58

Thank you so much Graham, Don, Martin, Keith and Frances. Your comments mean so much and inspire me.
I would like to say that there are so many reasons why people 'move away' from their community. It can be crime, lack of affordable housing, compulsory purchase and they find themselves alone and isolated at the one time in their life when they really need family around.
This has happened to my Grandmother and that's why I wrote this poem.
Thanks again.

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Graham Sherwood

Fri 13th Jul 2018 10:52

The thought of being too frail to be hugged one day petrifies me! I think I'd sooner risk a fracture.

Hannah your work always draws us in. You are becoming a very accomplished writer. We're lucky to have you.

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Frances Macaulay Forde

Fri 13th Jul 2018 10:49

Yes, so sad but true of so many now.
Well done, Hannah.

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Martin Elder

Fri 13th Jul 2018 09:02

A wonderfully crafted poem Hannah. I love the references to being a hugger and mustn't grumble. Mustn't grumble puts me in mind in a line from a song by the small faces , Sunday afternoon. There can be so much warmth in the right kind of hug. Also stewed what's its. Fabulous stuff
Love it

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Don Matthews

Fri 13th Jul 2018 04:51

Gosh, I like this Hannah. Moving. What more can I say?


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keith jeffries

Thu 12th Jul 2018 21:24

This is a very sincere portrait of an elderly lady who belongs to a generation where they endured life, not as we now know it. She sounds resilient. Isolation is often a means of protecting onself from the world about. You have excelled yourself with this poem and I congratulate you on achieving something very special
Thank you indeed.

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Hannah Collins

Thu 12th Jul 2018 21:03

Thank you so much for your comment Colin.
Really appreciated.
Wrote this one last night.


<Deleted User> (13762)

Thu 12th Jul 2018 20:55

I think this is perhaps your best poem to date Hannah - there's lots going on without any rambling and the conversational style works a treat. All the best, Colin.

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Hannah Collins

Thu 12th Jul 2018 20:44

Thank you Anya.
I feel there's a wealth of stories and poems with my grandparents. Poetry is a way to keep their memory and times alive.
Love your comments.

Hannah xx

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Hannah Collins

Thu 12th Jul 2018 20:42

Thank you so much Ray for your comment.
It is sad and funny sometimes how she gets things mixed up, especially names.


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Thu 12th Jul 2018 20:29

Although dementia is terrible, in a way the memory of disillusionment can be equally awful. The challenge of age has to be met head on; many of the things you mention are depressing enough. To be whisked off like that sounds really terrible, and you have illustrated it with true compassion. Nicely done Hannah.


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