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My grandmother was…, by Britta Benson

Today’s poem goes hand in hand with my post on ‘Britta’s Blog’ about my grandmother. She died in 1974, when I was four. The first person who died ‘on’ me. I know, my grandfather died just before my first birthday, but I have no memory of him. My mum’s mum was the first person to go in my life. Here’s a poem about her.

My grandmother was…

My grandmother was

a pot of mysterious, melt-in-your-mouth stew,

the carcasses of all the mythical beasts

she single handedly felled

in her good night stories.

My grandmother was

the pair of reading glasses,

that never sat straight on her nose,

but balanced precariously,

see-sawed with every breath,

weighing up the world and my excuses

in ominous silence.

My grandmother was

a stone, rough and squidgy at the same time,

the only thing left of the overripe peach she gave me,

its juice ran down my cheek like blood from an open wound,

then, we had to leave her bedside.

My grandmother was

a sickly green hospital light, fluorescent,

that went through me like an unforgiving x-ray

and tutted at my could-do-better insides,

not neat enough, in need of a tidy and bleach.

My grandmother was

the woman who simply dropped dead,

when she shouldn’t have,

and left a question mark on life.


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