Thursday, 16 January 2014

Martha's aunt's response to the market researcher


I have no memories of tea-drinking,
pinkies out to show off the best shaped nails;
milky coolness of china cups tinkling
while the lazy light outside thins and fails.


Had you waited, I’d have puzzled it out,
But as it is – frankly, I can’t recall -
some folks would have them, sure, there is no doubt,
but mine’s the same blank day, and nightfall.


Rise before the daylight cracks the curtain
rest after night slinks in the dark of coal;
those are the only rules that are certain,
and certain is the toil that breaks the soul.


So it’s just as well that you’ve found someone
with nice memories to answer that question.



I don’t know what you are talking about
childhood is something that other folks got
the toys and food, terraces facing south,
the breeze-in-hair trips to picnic spots.


What I learnt early was not to spill lentils,
I knew the yodel of the factory siren
violent men who tottered at our doorsills
women who were always tired and sunken.


Not one brand of crisp, arrowroot biscuit
in those kitchens where I happened to eat
I’ve no answer to this teatime nitpick
the names and games played with salt and sweet.


I’m glad that you pushed past me quite offhand
and found someone more clued up on brands.

For my framily in MR, who, unlike the researcher above, never pushed past anyone's aunt.  With love and many fond memories.