A fine tale, Max, & those scones; narrative memory at work.
On Jan 21, 2015, at 11:25 AM, Max Richards <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> At Grandma’s
> While I mow her unit’s lawns,
> Grandma bakes fruit scones.
> (This was the push-mower-
> with-grass-catcher era.)
> I bike here from school
> to her back shed - not a tool
> in it beside the mower
> and rusting hedge-clippers.
> She’d moved here, widowed,
> from a two-bedroom ‘State
> house’ when Granddad died.
> What a great send-off he’d had -
> pall-bearers from Parliament,
> a Maori MP in chief’s cloak.
> I wasn’t there - merely Dad, only
> son, with his two sisters. They
> minded Grandma, helped her
> move along the tram route further,
> maybe three or four stops
> from our doctor and shops.
> She sings hymns, old favourites,
> 'The Lord’s My Shepherd'
> is one I know. 'The Methodist
> Hymn Book' eked out with
> diddley-diddley-dee. Once
> Grandpa sang 'Silver Threads
> among the Gold', and she’d
> joined in. Now we heard Dad
> sing it teasingly for Mum,
> without her help. No voice,
> she’d say. Aunt Verna was
> the singer, a true soprano.
> ‘Don’t you go to church now, Grandma?’
> ‘Just weddings and funerals, my dear.’
> Auckland’s warm rains
> make grass grow year-round.
> Moist cut grass fragrant to the nose,
> heaped now under hydrangeas;
> sweltering in the far corner.
> My drink and buttered scone
> downed, it’s back to the mower.
> Alone in the kitchenette
> Grandma is singing 'Safe in my
> Father’s home' to the framed portrait
> of Michael Joseph Savage,
> saviour of the country,
> first Labour Prime Minister -
> ‘applied Christianity’.
> As her late husband’s grandson -
> indeed, the only one -
> I shall have to fill big boots -
> meanwhile wage war on green shoots.
> ‘I’ll need you again soon.’
> I hold out my palm - small coins -
> she folds my fingers over
> to prevent my counting until
> out her door and biking home.
> Rainclouds fill the sky beyond town.
> [Auckland 1951 / Seattle 2015]
[log in to unmask]
Recent publications: (With Sheila E Murphy) Continuations & Continuation 2 (UofAPress).
Recording Dates (Rubicon Press).
that we are only
as we find out we are