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In Praise of Older Women  


Stuart Quine
(@stuartquine0gmail-com)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 29
Topic starter  

                                                                                                   In Praise of Older Women

When i was eleven during the Summer holidays I was often sent to my nan while my parents were at work. It's not that they were over-protective but thought, despite my protestations, that I was to young - or too mischievous - to be left alone. 

Nan lived three streets away in a pre-war terrace with a long narrow back garden. Across a strip of lawn a washing line was slung between two rusty poles and a flagstone path led to a disused outside privy. The haunt of spiders and mildewed magazines. At the bottom of the garden was a latched gate and a hedge of fruit bushes gone wild. She had been a widow for about four years and was a little stooped from a lifetime of hard work and numerous pregnancies. My granddad had bbeen over six foot, at least twenty stone and although an educated man not above taking his belt to his thirteen children. He had fought at the Somme and maybe some of his humanity had died with the slaughter of his pals on that first terrible morning. Yet like many a tyrant he had a sentimental streak and would give my sister a half crown whenever we visited. I don't remember him paying me even the slightest attention.

After lunch nan would have a nap in her chair. Once, coming in from he garden,  I found er with her mouth slack and her head tipped back. I crept closer and gave her a nudge. And then a poke. She woke with a spluttering cough and was surprised to see me standing over her. "I thought you wee dead nan!" "Not yet, boy, not yet" she said in her soft Welsh lilt and shuffled off towards the kitchen to make some tea.

Sometimes on Saturdays my parents would go out dancing and I would stay over with nan. We would top and tail in her feather bed. Me with my head at the bottom and feet at the top, her with her head at the top and feet at the bottom. One night I saw her undressing. She must have thought I was asleep and was changing into her nightdress. Her calves were knotted with varicose veins, her belly and buttocks sagged, her breasts drooped below her waist. I was not repelled but realised that many of the pretty girls at school I fantasised about would someday be like this. And that I too would not escape the ravages of time.

                                                                                                 endless summer days...

                                                                                                blackberries heavy on the bush

                                                                                               and no thought of tomorrow

 

Stuart.

 

 


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Heather Dyer
(@heatherdyerbooksgmail-com)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 23
 

Stuart is back! Lovely Stuart, beautifully written, sparse, and the final  haiku is great, with the way summer seems endless in childhood as does youth. With the Welsh angle you could send it to New Welsh Review  http://www.newwelshreview.com/submissions.php or Planet  http://www.planetmagazine.org.uk/ or Poetry Wales  http://poetrywales.co.uk/wp/about/  

Nice to see your work, as always.

George, I seem to be getting the email now with a link to each new post - makes a world of difference, thank you. 


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George Marsh
(@george-marsh)
Eminent Member Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 49
 

Yes, I love this Stuart. The sense of place is strong. The glimpse of grandma is striking. The haiku is late-summer ripe. The only thing I think I would like more of is the transition to the conclusion. It feels a bit abrupt and under-cooked. What I think I need is firstly a feeling of being in the child's body and looking with the newness of experience of a child's eyes, and secondly a sense of a child's shock and awe, to coin a phrase, at this revelation about impermanence. 


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Stuart Quine
(@stuartquine0gmail-com)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 29
Topic starter  

Hi Heather,

Pleased you liked it. Thanks for the link where I could submit this but I'll probably sit on it for the next issue of Presence

Hope everything's well with you.

Stuart.


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Stuart Quine
(@stuartquine0gmail-com)
Eminent Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 29
Topic starter  

HiHeorge,

Pleased you liked it. I'll bear in mind your comments and will dredge my memory to see if I could 'cook' thre second part.

Hope everything's well with you.

 

Stuart.


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George Marsh
(@george-marsh)
Eminent Member Admin
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 49
 

Yes, thanks. It's good to hear from you. Are you well?


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Jonathan Buckley
(@mejpdbuckley-co-uk)
Active Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posts: 16
 

Sorry .. dont seem to have a critiqual bone in my body today. Just very much enjoyed reading this. I got it ... was there. Thanks


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