My Family and Other Hardy Annuals


Geraldine kicked me out of bed

when I was on the outside

when I was on the inside

forced Mum to put a bolster between us

and told me witches

stole little girls

who wouldn’t go to sleep

and made them into soup.

I must have been a pain in the arse

but, strangely, she became my friend.

She let me be her bridesmaid

took me to see Clint Eastwood films

and country music gigs

invited me for tea and we

had sing-songs.

We still have those now, when I can travel,

but both drink wine instead.

I think she likes me really.



Marianne took me to the ‘Stoogies’ Union

bought me orange squash

pointed out the guys

who used to fancy her

washed my nappies dutifully

loved me like a child loves her doll

told me when it was time to leave

and come to where she was.

Good advice.

For once, I took it.


‘Now, tell me once and tell me no more;

how was school today?’

So I told her. Every day.

Cup of tea and home-baked Queen-cake.

Dinner was always filling,

tasty, nutritious.

I didn’t know then

the cuts of meat were cheap:

liver, kidneys, lap of lamb, mince

and boiling chicken, braising steak.

I only knew that I was never hungry.

My Mummy was a genius.

First published in Reach Poetry




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