Gloriously older

Why
should I fear
leaving young womanhood
behind
when all around me
stand older women
glorious as trees
that have held firm
laughing through storms.
Did I see
how much of the sky
you held up for me
as I waltzed beneath
your canopy?
I see you now
all around me like
magnificent
brass pots of life.
Light
reverberating off
every dent,
pouring through
every crack.
Bathing me in warmth.
I know the path will
be glorious.
You have shown me
the way.

This poem is for the many, many women older than me who inspire me on a daily basis. This is for all of you. Thank you for your example. Your grace. Your courage. Your love. And thank you for showing me how to boss this life thing.

Granny Els

Be free.
We are here
to look after
those you love.

Last breath
you are gone.
A song
to lift you
on your way.

Open the window
the sun has come out.
Snatches of your life
speak to me now.

Plaits round the head
of a little Dutch girl.
A quiet room
with a ticking clock.
One dress for a
newly-wed doctors wife
who doesn’t know
how to make tea.

One lost child
in a hospital tent.
A drive through the night
to an Irish beach.
Windmills on the end
of a teaspoon.

Drawers full of patchwork
and home-spun wool.
New roof on a
Welsh cowshed.
Girl at the window
of an Amsterdam house
looking down
at an RAF doctor.

Long days in a
children’s hospital.
Grandchildren with
gardens on trays.
Embroidery on a
child’s old dress.

There is a yellow daffodil
in the bed where
you lay.
Be peace-filled now
we will all be ok.

Know that
Martin is with
Neil.
And tomorrow
Neil and Annemarie
will cross fields
to feed the horses.

My Granny Els died earlier this year. She was an inspirational, complicated, beautiful and kind person. I have learnt so much from her and miss her dearly. Her life spoke and was full of stories. I wrote this poem after sitting with her as she died and read it at her funeral.