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)
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)
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.