A Poem by Terry Collett

A woman remembers visiting her grandparent's house as a child.


You remember your gran
Standing in the small kitchen
With an apron on, the hair
Wrapped in a scarf, a cigarette
Hanging from the corner of
The mouth saying, never get
Married child, don’t waste


Your life on a worthless man,
Nodding her head in Granddaddy’s
Direction in the other room, her
Pale blue eyes raised ceilingward.
Odd, remembering that now.
That apron. Never seemed
To be without it. The cigarette


Hanging there between lips,
The smoke rising without
Being puffed. Her talking
Making the cigarette rise
And fall with the words.
Her hands moving about
In the pockets bringing out


Pegs or her old rosary or
A packet of ten Weights.
Your hair looks nice,
She’d say or that’s a
Pretty dress. Don’t be
Wasting time dressing up
For likes of him, she’d say


As if Granddaddy represented
The whole of mankind. Your
Mother could have done better,
She’d say, her voice lowered
In a conspiring manner like
Spies together plotting some
Underhand scheme. She was


Worth more, she’d add, your
Mother was. Worth twice his
Type. Your da was sheepish
Around Gran like some dog
That had pooed on the carpet,
His eyes avoiding her gaze, his
Ears closed to her mutterings.


Granddaddy sat there in his chair
Saying nothing, his stare settled
On his gnarled hands or at the clock
On the mantelpiece waiting for you
To leave, a brown pipe held between
Teeth releasing the odd puff of smoke
Into the room that would float about


Like a ghost unsure where to go next.
The waistcoat stained. Open necked
Shirt collarless, showing odd grey hairs
On his chest. Held the eyes. The hands
In his lap. The slippered feet still as
Dead dogs, obediently motionless.
Isn’t she wearing a pretty dress?


Gran’d say to Granddaddy putting her

Eyes on him or look at the fine hair on
The child and Granddaddy would look
Up and nod or mutter, fine fine fine and
The smoke from the pipe rising quicker
In short bursts as the words escaped
And the ticktocks from the big clock


Chiming the hour, making its way into

The room like a brass band striking up
From a bandstand and Granddaddy’d
Look at it like one waiting for death
And Gran’d say what time does your
Bus go? Or is that the time so, best be
Making your way back child and her


Hand dipped into her pocket and slowly

Brought out the small silver coin and
Placed it in the hand. Warm and wet
From the hand’s clutch. Buy some
Sweets, girl, or some as such, she’d
Say, but not too much, her words
Echoing along the street, not too much.

© 2010 Terry Collett

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Added on March 3, 2010
Last Updated on March 3, 2010
Tags: poem, gran, childhood, granddad, visits, eire


Terry Collett
Terry Collett

United Kingdom

Terry Collett has been writing since 1971 and published on and off since 1972. He has written poems, plays, and short stories. He is married with eight children and eight grandchildren. on January 27t.. more..