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York in Poetry: Grandma Elizabeth

Posted on 25 November 2012 | Poem, Audio

Do you know, do you know, do you know,
when our Gran was little like us,
she used to visit her Gran
who lived in a cottage high on a hill
with a path that higgledy-piggled its way
to a tumble-down mill.

Don’t you be going to that den,
her Gran would say, but she did.

From there she could hear the soft
croo crooing of pigeons up aloft.
She stopped to pick her gran a posy,
clover, daisies, campion too
and wild geranium blue.

And when she went in with this rainbow bunch,
to arrange in a white china jug,
she remembers still
how the very best bit was to visit
the treasures on her Gran’s pantry sill.

Don’t you go falling down them cellar steps
her Gran would say.

And she didn’t fall. She stood tiptoe
on a footstool made of treacle tins to reach
and hold the pottery eggs, and to see how
the little green plastic donkey kicked its legs,
and to shake a glassy globe that we’ve got now,
where a little girl skates through blizzarding snow.

Grandma Elizabeth’s -
got peacock feathers
for tickling sticks and a hidey hole
under the eaves. She tells us stories,
lets us help her cook the meals
and leave trick eggs for breakfast treats.

And the very best bit in the room where we sleep is
a little white ledge of a mantelpiece
where she keeps a candle pressed with leaves,
a bright blue tiny glass bottle with a stopper,
and little blue pots and plates.

And do you know, do you know, do you know,
when she says, it’s late, go to sleep,
we don’t.
We spread the tea-set out
and have a feast of feasts.

- Elizabeth Sandie