One of the positives of having to go through drawers and sort out books (and I have been SO GOOD today and been ruthless with my countryside and West Country books, only keeping two boxes from a big book-case full), is finding odd scribblings of mine. Here is one I would like to share with you. It takes me back over 60 years . . .
Queen of the Gypsies
Gap-toothed and clothed in rusty black
She lived a half-life behind
Greying net curtains and
Four waving pine trees.
I knew her for a witch.
If I was playing by the cherry tree,
She would always notice, and
Cross the road,
Fumbling her apron pocket and
Pinching my cheek with her sand-paper fingers.
She would smile gummily, and
Press a packet of 3 wrapped biscuits
Into my hand. They were always soft . . .
She was Queenie Goddard, whose grandsons visited every week, taking dock-tailed Mandy out of the flat cart and leading her through to the shed at the back. Queenie's home was a creosoted wooden shack, with four tall pine trees at the front, making it gloomy inside. I can see it so clearly, the dark bay mare being led through the gates, and then they would all go in for tea and soft biscuits I reckon!