From the album of my mother's mind,
Secret in their innocence,
The dead walked out in comic hats
To posture in a new pretence.
My uncles, always young and smart,
In Norfolk jackets cut the hay,
And Granny in a long white frock
Tripped abroad to gather may.
Embowered in abundant peace,
The farm where all the Farrs were born
Rose tranquilly amid its flocks,
Its blossom trees and golden corn.
The winters of the war were cold.
The people hid in smelly lairs.
But we hid out in Gloucestershire,
In a cupboard underneath the stairs.
I knew we'd have it all one day,
Just as Grandpa meant we should.
We'd feed the hens, and milk the cows
And go for picnics in the wood.
I didn't know that Grandpa drank
Till his cattle and crops had rotted black,
And the boys went off to die in France
And the burden broke old Granny's back.
And yet my mother never lied
And gave me more than half a fact.
She shared with me the charity
That keeps a dignity intact.