Poem for the Welsh grandmother
I never really knew
Six o’clock! The cuckoo whirrs its clockwork arrow
from the dark wood of its ambush and the flight
of my granny’s forgotten youth flashes before my eyes
to be buried among the trees. Cats! I can still count
her 1, 2, 3 cats, each one lapping milk from its saucer.
If I close my eyes, I can recall her house, her clothes,
her hair, the very bend of her body bowed over
the ironing board in the kitchen and everywhere,
the sweet and sour smell of white fish bubbling
on the stove for the cats’ supper. The cuckoo clock
strikes again. Each one wounds, the last one…?
Who knows what the last one will bring? Life’s
bitterest blows perhaps? Or missing memories
restored and with them, my granny’s own lost beauty,
with her standing upright, like some glorious flower
illuminated by a sunbeam in the wood’s dark depths.