Half-Told Tales

In order to refute the scurrilous rumours put about by Mr SC that I never write anything belying my role as an MA student, I thought I’d post this one. This one is for my grandmother, Emily. It was finalised at about the time Mr SC wrote ‘Stories of Dad’. My grandmother was an unusual and fairly eccentric woman, though always vibrant and full of life……

Half-Told Tales

Speech flowing in caressing cadences
telling your world, the before and after, the here and there
telling only half your story.
Since the children ,unknowing
heard your demi-Parisian twang
labelling it German, stoned you and Frenchy Rose in the street.
Since the zeppelins shadowed London,
one side of your tongue has been silenced.

Swift-like you flit around the kitchen
recounting Soapy Ethel’s bathwater flying from the top window
drenching your only hat.
Locking Meme in the lavatory,
as Marie Lloyd was waiting at the church.
The warm brown of the big teapot and the flour in your hair.
Blue Players Navy Cut from Miserable Sid’s
Warm by the fire in your yellow kitchen

When you died we found 42 full cans
Of rusted ‘Bronco’ distemper, all the shade Canary Yellow
With a horsehair sofa
Hoarded in the cupboard
Underneath the rickety bottom stairs
Behind the button boxes, odd china, Indian brassware and the memories
The stairs fell down when we took the tins out
Needing the support, as we did.


7 Responses to “Half-Told Tales”

  1. Pray tell, when on earth have I ever said that? Honestly, it would appear you and AD are doing a hatchet job on me, what with the two of you talking of nagging and other scurrilous fabrications. Be gone, I say! You’re both touched by madness. But then, I’ve known that FOREVER… 😛

    Humph. You don’t deserve to have this entry highlighted with such tittte-tattle but because I love you despite your obvious flaws, I am featuring this one in my latest Creme de Bloggers. You may thank me by casting aside these perversions of justice, or you shall face a bill for libel which will amount to at least £500 in Monopoly money and a demand for more Doctor Who action figures by way of compensation.



  2. […] Half-Told Tales is about Khlari’s grandmother, Emily, who was, we are told an ‘unusual and highly eccentric woman’. Must be in the gene pool, then. But seriously, this is a very beautiful poem that has so much flavour and atmosphere to it, you really must go have a read and see what you make of it yourselves. Khlari honours her grandmother’s memory greatly. […]

  3. See? Shows I love ya! 🙂

  4. Love you too darling!

  5. This is a beautiful tribute, and I only wish I had your talented skills as a writer. Is this the same lady who chased the icky man down the street with a fry pan? If so she unknowingly brought smiles to a Canadian face decades later ,,, 🙂 Thank you for sharing this!

  6. Khlari, you’re a cheeky minx. No doubt about it. x

  7. One and the same Sue…also ran the entire production floor of a London brewery during the blitz, (in charge of all the men) after she was bombed out twice (not bad for someone who was 4’8″ tall!)

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