Nanny Wilson and Grandad Wilson
My nan would tell us,
with a one-toothed smile,
that she had to get married.
Yet so particular: hat with gloves, handbag with shoes.
A perfect match.
Lunch was Guinness and a cheese sandwich.
That final tooth socket bled iron for days.
Now chairs wait by the walls,
it’s party time!
More Guinness. A few whiskies.
Where has she gone?
Out she runs from the bedroom,
she’s Charlie Chaplin,
shoe polish greasing her Pan Stik top lip,
waddling in Grandad’s black boots.
While her full fur pink Pirellis hide behind the settee.
The wine gums were only for him and me,
all squashy in the paper bag.
The green ones tasted like Fairy Liquid.
We’d play cards or watch the horse racing.
He always liked a bet.
One night I hid under the kitchen table.
He came in to strip wash at the sink.
The trousers dropped. I pulled my legs in tight,
trapped but unseen.
Afterwards he took ages cleaning the taps.
How he loved to clean those taps.
What dirt was he trying to wash away?
Memories of cutting up nanny’s clothes when her mother wouldn’t
let him in?
He would buy the best crackers at Christmas.
At the parties I stood on his lumpy medical shoes.
They shone like his taps.
We would shuffle around to Sinatra singing “My Way” on the
My dad had just died and I was at their front door,
he said he didn’t know me,
then her words: “That’s Freddie’s girl”,
and his: “Yes I know!”
So he lied. Was he lying all those years?
I’ll never know.
If you have any thoughts on these poems, Susan Wilson would be pleased to hear them.