Advantages It was asked for.
Disadvantages Another Welsh Poem.
On The Parish
For today she has an errand something that she needs to do
A weekly task that needs her courage a lengthy wait inside a queue.
All around her adults jostle trying to push her out of place
Faces pinched with cold and hunger has no time for social grace.
Once her home was bright and cheerful, once were carpets on the floor
Vaguely she remembers her mother dressed in finery go out the door.
Then the house got dark and gloomy, a stranger slept upon a bed
Hands like claws she swung so gently never feeling any dread.
All her treasured things were taken sold to pay the bills and rent
Until at last there was no money, every single farthing spent.
With no husband and three children what could her poor mother do?
Whispered words about the parish broke her mother’s heart in two.
From the butcher came some scrag ends a little meat to make a stew
A plump cabbage, carrots, onions, a twist of tea to make a brew.
A nice fresh loaf, some stale bread to make a pudding, what a feast!
She saved by buying old potatoes, bought some flour and some yeast.
Laying down her heavy burden she greets her sisters straight from school
How she wishes she could join them but it’s against the doctors rule.
A birth defect left her weak and puny so she taught herself to read
Pouring over the family bible her thirst for knowlede her biggest need.
Gathering up an empty sack she takes one sister on the chore,
The other stays behind with mother, prepares a meal for one day more.
This is how they keep on going with every deed is a pretence
Pride sustains their mother’s sanity, her own form of self-defence.
Along the embankment lies a trail of fallen coke and coal
In the quiet of the evening this becomes the paupers goal.
Here the sisters work in silence scrabbling for something to burn
Lumps and fragments quickly taken for tonight there’s no return.
She’s said her prayers and now she cuddles sharing warmth her sister sleeps
Warn out by a day of struggle, now at last she gently weeps.
Every day seems like a hurdle, how she needs a day of rest
But they’re living on the parish; will they always be second best?
© Lisa Fuller Feb 2005. ***********************************************
The above is a true story of her life. An attempt at recreating a day in the life of someone so very special that it’s a wonder she managed to live to tell the story. At the time of which I've written my mother was about eight years old, I can only imagine how very hard it must have been for her, but in her memories she never once spoke about how she felt, knowing my mother so well I have taken the liberty of putting thoughts to her words, I have a strong feeling that this was how she truley felt at the time.She was born in 1921, shortly after the 1st World war. Her father was a fairly wealthy man and her mother was used to the good things in life. My mother barely remembered her father, he sustained a wound in the war and a piece of shrapnel worked its way into his bloodstream and he suffered a stroke. My mother remembered his clawed hand and how she used to swing it lightly, she was only a toddler then but in her later years her early past became more vivid than what happened the day before, maybe this is a defence mechanism that helps older people to prepare for their old age, if so then it seems to me a blessing in disguise, as her final nine months of life were bereft of any dignity and she was a true lady that had a strong sense of dignity.
My grandmother was not a strong person, she suffered all her life from depression and anxiety, after her 1st husband died she could no longer cope with the change from comfort to poverty and was dreadfully embarrassed that she had to live on “charity”. She passed this on to my own mother and it took me a long while to understand her motivation in life, but that is now water under the bridge.My mother was born with a birth defect, a large gaping hole in her bottom which had to be packed with dressings, because of this she was never allowed to go to school and yes, she did learn to read from the family bible, my auntie confirmed this for me before she died of cancer. Even after my mother healed she was still quite frail but I believe that the things she did for her own mother made her far stronger in mind and body.
Her mother could not cope with standing in line to buy food, in those days the money was given to those “On the Parish” on a certain day, queues would form to buy the cheapest food and my mother learned to “bargain” well. She taught me to cook at ten years old and I can still conjure up a healthy meal for the price of a large mixed packet of crisps.It kept me going as a single parent and continues to do so now I live on benefits, thanks mum, you were sometimes very hard on me, but you passed on your pride to me and in turn my daughter. One day I hope to write that book.
Ignore the ratings they mean nothing and I'm sick of entering them.Thanks for reading
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