Sunday, 22 April 2012

On reflection

On reflection

Mother was just Mother or so it seemed to me,
she got us up for breakfast and was there again for tea
On Fridays she did baking because father worked till eight,
and we would fight to get the bowl in which she mixed the cake.

We always had a Sunday roast, which made lots of washing up,
and then appeared on Monday as jackets with cold cuts;
Tuesdays she went shopping so dinner was a treat,
it had to be something quick to cook and often quick to eat;

Most days we had puddings all made by Mother’s hand,
but we never did appreciate how much it all was planned,
She’d sit and write a list of meals to have the coming week
and fill in Wrenson’s grocer’s book with anything we’d need.

The milkman came each morning, the grocery midweek,
and vegetables from Raybold’s van parked out in the street.
Laundry went on Wednesday after all the beds were changed,
because when we were little we didn’t have machines.

She made our clothes for Sundays, matching frocks when we were young,
gradually she taught us how to make our own.
She’d listen to the wireless when we had gone to bed
but what she thought of life we never asked, she never said.

She didn’t seem to have ambition and was content with life
she was a diligent and happy married wife;
she never seemed to ask for anything for herself,
only so much later when she wasn’t in good health

She was very good with money, she knew where every penny went
and she planned it very carefully and never overspent.
She got a little job when I was aged fifteen;
I think she wanted more from life than to sit at home and dream

She was very quick with numbers, and tidying the house,
I wonder if she would have liked to work or at least the chance to choose.
In the early fifties after men had been demobbed
to give them work women were required to give up jobs,

they had to work for men if allowed to stay;
it was before the age of equal opportunity and pay.
Men ruled in the workplace, women ruled the home
but did they both get what they wanted before their time was done?

Did you ever think to ask your mum if she’d made the most of life,
not being her own woman but someone else’s wife?
Did she feel that life had given her the chance to shine,
I’ll never know because it’s something that I never did ask mine?

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