Friday, 14 November 2014

A Poem for Remembrance Day from my poetry book A Mother's String

I realize this poem is being posted after Remembrance Day, but I wanted to share it: My Grandfather's Box My mother keeps her recipes, tax receipts and other ingredients for her daily tasks, to help keep the house standing, all in my grandfather's box. He gave it to her shortly before the operation, and told her about how it was a gift given to him in the war by a Russian prisoner. A man he would have never considered an enemy, beyond the sound of bombs blasting and barbed wire fences of the prison camp. Beyond, where the beaches were still a place to search for living shells that didn't explode in your hands. This man collected shiny paper, perhaps Christmas wrappings, and cut-outs from magazines, piecing together a mosaic or a collage of twentieth century culture to meld his with the western world. To remember, and to reach out beyond his world, one he shared with this stranger, my grandfather, in that dire place. An unlikely gift between men both encased in foreign surroundings. The colour has faded from the touching of hands, the lid opened and closed gently, but too often. This box was not meant for my mother's recipes and receipts, but it is right for her to keep it to know the history to fill the box with memory. From A Mother's String published by Ekstasis Editions, 2005