In celebration of grandparents – Eleanor and Raymond

About 14/15 years ago I collated a small collection of poems, under the title of  ‘Rewarded by Dolphins’.

My intention for this blog is to begin to set out a collection of new poems, written during the last decade or so – but I wanted to start this creative adventure of mine with a couple of pieces that relate to my grandparents, who I loved dearly, and who gave me an inspirational vision of what ageing well can be like – a path made much easier for them by my mother, who made sure that their long journey was a comfortable and an honoured one.

“Ray and Nellie” were married for just over 70 years.

Two pieces.


Thinking of you ,

grandfather, my love,

blue bearded and green pyjamed

as you lay, serene in death.

What were you thinking of in those last, feather breathed days?

Of beer, and skittles?

Old cars and older friends?

Loose fittings, loose ends? 

Or was it of us, or had you already left us behind,

pretty much as we suspected,

our solicitations rejected?

I like to think that some image of us, your loves,

was imprinted upon your mind’s eye

as you slipped out of the room

with one final, short, sigh……

My grandmother (the angel on my shoulder) died about 18 months after Ray and as part of the elegy for her funeral service I wrote;

When I travelled to France recently, on the overnight ferry, towards midnight I went out on one of the upper decks. The moon was rising and romancing the sea, and I had the strongest sense of my grandfather, heard him talking to me, and felt his presence. And I imagined him dancing a ragged and solitary hornpipe, atop the silvered waves. (And then, because I am his grandson, I went and had a coffee and a cognac, and chided myself for being whimsical)

Well, I like to think that the same moonspangled carpet will be laid out across the sea tonight, and, if I was making my voyage again, that I would see the sailor and the lady, sitting at a a table, straight backed and forever young. For an instant they might look towards my ghost ship passing by, and, later, I think they will turn and look eagerly for us all.

But for now? They only have eyes for each other.