#100peoplepoems part 40: Hilda

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April 22, 2016 by Sez

She only existed in anecdotes: part cautionary tale 

Part role model.

“Your Great-great Aunt Hilda”

Got expelled from several schools because she 

Was rude, abrasive and 

(It was implied with sideways glances)

Rather promiscuous. 

It was decided, therefore

By somebody; (your parents?)

That she’d be happier across the ocean.

(Or that a family obsessed with manners 

Would much prefer an ocean be between them

And this young aberration in their midst)

From there 

The stories stop. 

Although sometimes my grandfather 

Would smile and shake his head,

Remember how, (on what he called) visits home 

She called the soil in England “stony dirt 

That wouldn’t raise a radish”

When everybody else would nod and smile

And compliment him on his hardy annuals.

How she’d dismiss the buzzards and the kestrels

He’d point out delightedly on their walks

Contemptuously as “just plain hawks”.

She lived to be a hundred and then stayed 

For three more years

 But left before I got here.

I wish we could have, somehow, overlapped.


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