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My mother

Aperitifs in Paris watching the world
Go by; laughing too hard to walk a line;
Smuggling a salamander in a beret;
Dunking her suitor’s nose into his wine:
Mischief, yet never an unkind word without
A ‘miaow’ to take the sting out. She adored
Children, Germander speedwell, French cuisine,
The smell of wind-dried washing and of stored
Apples; robins and flying buttresses, the great
Ship of the Fens and everything it meant.
Her faith was quiet; she could not find the ocean
Beautiful since many times she went
Beyond it leaving those she loved behind.
Saturday’s child, she worked hard for her living,
Running the ‘Naytax’ service to and fro;
But also Friday’s child, so loving and giving
She helped the aged when she too was old.
Selfless still when suffering near the end,
Her fingers soothed our hands. Comfortingly
She smiled at us: our mother and our friend.

 

by Damaris West

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