I have a middle size niece and her name is "Bendy Wendy",
She really is a tomboy with blades and ideas that are quiet trendy.
She's full of wit and wisdom although she's only seven,
Now she's told her Nan a story about a cottage up in heaven.
It's quiet a lovely place to go and live when all your days are done,
But it really got me thinking about whether it really would be fun,
There would be Poor Old Paddy puffing on his pipe and always being funny,
Working out which horse to back and how to raise the money.
Then there'd be Grandad Seguss to make sure you stood up straight,
He'd be standing in the garden- pinny on - waving at the gate.
Nanny Seguss in the kitchen making Steak and Kidney pie,
Her favourite flowers, pinks and lupins in the garden growing high.
And I am sure Aunty May would be found sitting in an armchair snug,
Busy with her knitting, she'd have plenty of time to make us all a rug,
Uncle Alf is in the living room putting coal on them there flames,
Taking everybody's photo, he'd have time to print and mount them all in frames.
Perhaps Grandad Hipkin would be in the garden chopping up the firewood,
Well I'm sure they wouldn't allow the removal of livers - that would be no good.
And whose that lurking in the corner - Ah its Magdalene - gin in hand.
Oh no - I'm certain I can hear someone whistling "Macnamaras Band".
Oh bloody hell I never realised the Irish lot from Kildare are here in force,
Would someone please tell Bridget there is no room in here for that dam horse?
And no you're not growing your tatties in the garden and chopping down that tree,
So that you can make sure all your kids are seated and all well feed for free.
I'm not very sure this cottage would be such a peaceful habitation,
Can you imagine - you'd have to use the toilet in very strict rotation.
Well I've definitely decided that when my time is drawing near,
I'll volunteer to stoke the boiler down below - no fear!!!!
Now there's a thought - why do I worry, why am I distressed?
The b******* might be down below and I wouldn't be perplexed.
But who would chop the wood, make me laugh, bake a pie and share a gin,
NO I've changed my mind I'll see you there, knock on the door we'll let you in!
Edna Mather ©1997
Our Family Tree
So now the story has been told,
Of all our family, young and old.
All the names that are on the tree,
Helped in shaping you and me
There are Williams, Alfreds and Richards by the score,
Even Mays, Marys and Alices to name a few more
But I have noticed of Wendys and Ednas only two,
It's hard to build people like me and you!
One things for sure, of this I know,
This tree doesn't end; it will grow and grow.
You'll have nieces, daughters, sons maybe,
Who will share the tree with you and me.
As the years roll on, as you know they will,
There'll be branches to add and more names still.
Some may be thorns, blossoms, or even nuts maybe
But all will add colour to our strange tree!
So PLEASE Wendy keep this safe and sound,
And as each year comes around
I'll add more pictures, stories and names too,
This tree will flourish with me and you.
OH!! And by the way- that cottage you dreamed of three years ago,
Must be far too small for our family to grow.
I think a small village might be better for us all,
With shops a church, a pub and a grand town hall.
Now here's how I see it- what do you think?
Rosie - the stables, Daddy the printer covered in ink,
Nanny the Inn - taking in an odd stray,
Grandad Paddy on the farm - baling the hay.
Aunty Bett - selling sweets and maybe Pokemon too,
Kitty in the café - buns for us two!
Grandad Hipkin - the policeman riding his bike,
Grandad Seguss - keeping the park as nice as you like.
But what could you do to be part of this tale?
You - the town crier all hearty and hale?
Or maybe the vet or even a nurse?
I'll wait for a while to add one more verse…
Edna Mather ©2000
Well I’m sure that Nanny is now in that cottage up there
I’m sure they’ve found her the comfiest chair
Her legs they are mended and she’s suffering no pain
She’s able to run to her mum and dance once again
Can you imagine all the noise that they’re making
And think of the photos Uncle Alf will be taking
They’ll be plenty of smiles and barrels of laughter
And think of the drink they’ll all enjoy after
Paddy a Guinness and Nanny Ogg a whisky maybe
Granddad Seguss a port and Nanny Seguss a tea
Uncle Alf a Stones Ginger Wine and Magdalene a gin
Aunty Alice from Norfolk real lemonade – OHH what a din!
Aunty may will be happy just doing her knitting
They’ll be plenty of time to natter and just enjoy sitting
Paddy and Granddad deciding which horse to back
Friends to visit, crosswords to do – nothing they’ll lack
Wait – who’s that in the corner trying not to be seen?
Why it’s Jack the elephant all dressed in green.
Aunty May’s knit him an outfit – well he has Irish roots.
Oh and Granddad Seguss will make sure he’s clean boots!
It would be so good if we could visit for a day
But that’s not to be it can’t be arranged – no way
So we’ll remember the good times we’ve had with them here
And enjoy the fun yet to come with our relatives near
I’ve got to tell you about a dream that I had last night,
The sun shone, the birds sang and Mum RAN up and hugged me tight.
“Come,” she said, “Let me show you where I live and what wonders there are here,
But first let me tell you there is no more pain, no more angst and no more fear,
All you will find here is happiness, old friends, love and laughter,
But best of all my family is here and I’ll live with them happily ever after.”
I woke up – no chance to speak, say goodbye or wave her on her way.
But I woke with a smile just happy to know I’ll see her again one day.
A Crabbit Old Woman
This poem was found in an elderly woman’s locker after she died in a
geriatric hospital in Edinburgh.
What do you see nurses, what do you see?
Are you thinking when you look at me -
A crabbit old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit with far away eyes,
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice “I do wish you’d try”.
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe.
Who, unresisting or not lets you do as you will
With bathing or feeding the long day to fill.
Is that what your thinking? Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes nurse, you are not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still
As I rise at your bidding, as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another;
A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon a lover she’ll meet:
A bride soon at twenty my heart gives a leap
Remembering the vows I promised to keep;
At twenty five now I have young of my own
Who need me to build a secure happy home;
A woman of thirty my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other with bonds that should last;
At forty my young sons now grown will be gone,
But my man stays beside me to see I don’t mourn;
At fifty once more babies play round my knee,
Again we know children my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me my husband is dead,
I look to the future, I shudder with dread.
My young are all busy raising young of their own,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.
I’m an old woman now and nature is cruel,
‘tis her jest to make old age look like a fool,
The body it crumbles, grace and vigor depart
There is now a stone where I once had a heart,
But inside this carcass a young girl still dwells
and now and again my battered heart swells.
I remember the joy, I remember the pain
And I think of the years all too few - gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing will last;
So open your eyes nurses, open and see:
Not a CRABBIT OLD WOMAN; Look closer see ME.
The nurses reply – written by a nurse on the ward at the time.
What do we see you ask, what do we see?
Yes we are thinking when seeming to flee.
We may seem to be hard, when we hurry & pass,
But there are many of you & too few of us.
We would like more time to sit with you and talk
To bathe you, and feed you and help you to walk.
To hear of your life and the things you have done,
Your childhood, your husband, your daughter, your son.
But time is against us, there is too much to do,
Patients are many and nurses are few.
We grieve when we see you, no friends of your own.
We feel all your pain and know all you fear,
Nobody cares now when your end may be near.
But nurses are people with feelings as well,
Of the dearest old gran in the very end bed,
And the lovely old dad and the things that he said.
We speak with compassion and love and feel sad,
When we think of your lives and the joy you’ve had
And when the time comes, for you to depart,
You leave us behind with an ache in our hearts.
When you come to the long sleep,
No more worry and care,
There are other old people and we must be there.
So please understand if we hurry and pass,
There are so many of you and too few of us.