Friday, 4 May 2018

mammy said

mammy said

mammy said so many times, so many things,
that i often said "mammy said", when
I should have said grownup things;
but mammy said.

mammy said 
"no" to another comic; i think it was
because we didn’t have much money,
but "mammy, mammy, please, please"
usually sliced the bread;
mammy said.

mammy said 
"there are rats under the sink again",
in the scullery where she boiled my shirts in a saucepan,
on the gas ring, where she poked them with a stick 
that sogged shorter and shorter.
dad set a trap and sealed the hole.
"good" 
mammy said.

mammy said
 "he thinks his shit is chocolate",
the acerbic husband of the lady who ran the post office,
next door, where mammy helped out.
she was a gentle woman so the "chocolate" melted my heart. 
tough what? and
"he thinks his shit don’t smell". 
that’s what
mammy said. 

mammy said "he’s fast asleep";
me, that is, wrapped in a course Welsh shawl 
around her pale blue sequinned dress 
that smelled of valderma.
it frightened me when she said
 "you’re not my little boy".
yes! that’s what 
mammy said!

mammy said 
"you’ll never be half the man that your father is";
"you are like a string of diseased meat".
boy, i must have really upset her that day.
I cannot remember why, but i was a naughty boy.
but, it hurt, that did, but, honestly, that’s what 
mammy said.

mammy said 
"neatness counts",
what did she know of school?
neatness counts for little if the sums are wrong.
in her dark moments, she said 
"laughing leads to crying",
that’s what
mammy said.

mammy said
"don’t swear", "talk when you are spoken to", 
"little boys should be seen and not heard",
"cat got your tongue?", "you’ve got worms you have".
lots and lots of things like that,
mammy said.

mammy said 
she had just "lain out"
mr this or mrs that.
she did that in the village.
the softest of women could be hard.
"someone has do it",
mammy said.
‘it’s the living you have to fear"
daddy said.
"take no notice of your father",
mammy said

mammy said 
"look at them all in their Sunday church best,
come an look with me, here on the bed".
fox stoles and lucky rabbits feet in silver clasps;
passing by our window.
"they’re all airs and graces",
mammy said.

"she’s a nice girl" mammy said,
and we were wed.
"they are good boys" grandpa said,
as mammy did the ironing. 
"ah! cachy" my nana used to say.
"she only had one lung, you know",
that’s what
mammy said.

mammy said 
"who is making the sandwiches?".
she always howled unconsolably at funerals;
all her sisters did.
it could be a bit unsettling
until the tea was served.
"nice sandwiches",
mammy said.

"i’m dying" mammy said.
"it’s going right through me;
they’ve taken my clothes away
and these don’t fit",
mammy said.
we said "no, no" ever so gently;
but she was dead;
she was dead.

and all i could think of was:

"what would mammy say now?"
"what would mammy have said?" 

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