Remembering my mother

 

Heart Thumpers

 

A faux brass case of old photographs

None of them good

And yet she kept them

A shopping list

Scrawled and barely legible

But in her hand

A birthday card signed “with love”

A button waiting to be sewn on

A compact that was once beautiful

Her glove

Her handkerchief

Her fragrance

“Heart Thumpers”

It says on the little case

Of photographs

Me squinting into the summer sun

How old could I have been?

Our children at play

Her unsmiling passport photo

All found in the drawer beside her bed

Throw them away, my father said

But I kept them all

The little things that made up her life

Keepsakes in a crystal bowl

That once held her make up

I open it reverently once a year

To smell the fragrance

Of that unforgotten past

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Remembering

 I wrote this next poem in 1995, about six months before my mother died.

 Role Reversal

Today, I held my mother

sobbing in my arms

Stroking her soft,  fine hair

Her chin nuzzled on my chest

And I could smell

the unforgotten fragrance

of her skin

I held her close

as I have held my children

and felt the frailty of her age

How odd and imperceptibly

the tables turn

And those that you have leaned on

lean on you

Those that you had turned to

turn to you

Now she is the child

And I am the mother

MUM AND DAD BEFORE THEY WERE ENGAGED. LATE 1920S? THEY WERE MARRIED IN 1936.SONY DSCmum

In memory of Freda Hetty Finn.  Born London, December 13 1910. Died 6 March 1996.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Friendship

 

Recently I lost a very dear friend.  She was seldom happier than when she was in her garden.

I have written this poem for her.

 

Frankie’s garden

 

As I walk round her garden

Frankie is with me

She is there in the whispering grass

And the poppies growing so free

Last year, I said, the earth was bare

And now the flowers have grown

Last year, she said, I was still here

But now you are alone

A robin came to say hello

We wanted him to stay

He sang a song and then was gone

Like me he’s flown away, she said

Like me he’s flown away.

grass pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

 

 


Home

I am home from school

I open the unlocked back door

and step in from the sunshine

The house smells of all things good

Mum I’m home

I call out up the stairs

It is 1958

and the ones I love have yet to die

Nothing shakes my world

My life is calm, solid, safe

I have yet to have my heart broken

or woken from nightmares

I have yet to see

people jumping hand in hand

from burning towers

No suicide bombers

haunt my dreams

I am surrounded by love

Goodnight, sleep tight

Sweet dreams

Mum, I’m home.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Old Life, New Life

Old Life, New Life

My daughter was fifteen

When my mother died

She never knew her as a woman

Or saw her as a bride.

Eighteen years have passed

The years have all flown

My hair has turned grey

Our children have grown.

When I see a perfect flower

Or a bud upon the tree

I think about my mother

And the life she gave to me.

Me at 15 months with my mother

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


Poppy Day

poppy for blog

Here’s a poem for today.

I’d like to be able to say I wrote it but it’s not mine.

It was written by John McCrae in May, 1915. And it’s one of my favourite poems.

In Flanders Fields  

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe.
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
in Flanders fields.

Someone has had the great idea of scattering poppy seeds so that they bloom in time for the 100th anniversary of the First World War on 4 August, 2014. In that way we can all commemorate the enormous sacrifice that was made on our behalf.

Here’s the link if you would like to buy some poppy seeds to scatter:

http://realpoppy.co.uk/

poppies            © Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems


An unforgettable day


  

October 30th 1999

Driving along the Promenade in Nice

The sun glinting on the ocean

Cars moving so slowly

That cyclists, joggers, roller skaters

Were all moving faster 

It was a beautiful, unforgettable day

The kind that makes you glad to be alive

Then out of nowhere

Into my head

Came a line

From my dad’s

Favourite rhyme

“I must go down to the sea again”

I said the whole poem out loud

Later

Driving back along the Promenade

The sun dipping

The cars going just that little bit faster

My phone rang

And a voice said

Your dad is dead

Suddenly

The day was unforgettable

For all the wrong reasons.
blog 3

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems