Thursday, December 9, 2021

Grandma's Favorite Poem

by Carlton Alfred Smith (1853 - 1946)
For the last decade or so, this clipping has been
on my mother-in-law's kitchen bulletin board.
She told me that it captured precisely
how she felt at the conclusion of every visit.

Grim & Gram,
tucking the boys into the way back.

Incredible to realize they've gone:
Matthew - Maro - their children - our grandchildren -
Saskia - Cosima - in the Renault
Festooned as for a wedding, with pink hands
Waving from windows blown farewells.
Matthew's parting smile above the wheel
Disappears down our lane -- his face
Torn from a coloured postcard of our garden.
We go back to thehouse where Yesterday
Still scatters through the rooms the wreckage
Of cardboard boxes, toys, torn silver paper.
Our room that seemed to bulge with voices
And walls bounced off by Matthew's clarinet's
Billowing notes -- relapsed to silence. We ourselves
Though anicent, not yet ghosts, feel two-dimensional
- Cardboard cut-outs of grandparents
With one small soul, like some flower plucked at a picnic
A century ago -- pressed between pages
Of an ancient tome -- absorbing ink each side --
One chapter's ending and the next's beginning.
Well, do not let this silence -- vacuum
Which, as they say, Nature abhors --
Be filled at any moment with our tears.

Stephen Spender (1909 - 1965)

A Page from
Grandma Rosanne's Notebook
Evangeline Paterson (1928—2000)


You might recognize this seasonal favorite:
Christmas Eve
also by Carlton Alfred Smith

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