Mam at Coronation Street. Fought Cancer for seven years.
I Watch Athletics With My Mam
All house mirrors have been removed.
I sit on her soft bed, rest an arm
on a spare pillow. Mum’s pillows
stack behind her as we watch
a tv placed where her dress mirror stood.
Once she cried as her hair fell out.
She cried as she gained each pound weight
because she takes the chemicals
to stop her dying, stop the spread.
Once she was ‘petite’, now Mum’s fat
jowls, bingo wings slop on the bed.
Together we watch lithe bodies,
sharp muscle tone dash for the end.
Her home is spotless, a show home.
Every day we polish, scrub,
vacuum, she wants it welcoming.
She nods off half way through the
100 metres, I soft clap
the winner as she would have done.
I remember good times, and smile
at her laughter, gleam in her eyes
when she sees another winner
dash over the race finish line.
Meanwhile, she looks forward to Oakwell,
a new fan of Barnsley FC.
I never go as I don’t like
football, regret my selfishness
and time not enjoying her life.
She will sit in her hired wheelchair
yell and clap at their confidence,
vitality, their will to win.
Note: Mum died of cancer in 1997
FINDING THE RIGHT WORDS
Last visit to a friend dying of ovarian cancer
She is propped up with cushions,
a glass of lemon barley water
on a tray beside her,
polo mints spilling from a packet.
I sit on the sofa beside her;
She fumbles with the TV remote;
a huge cartoon dog dashes
across the technicolour screen.
I pass her the silver-framed photo,
the two of us at primary school,
broad grins and NHS glasses,
all gappy teeth and optimism.
She startles as a bird hits the window
and clings on to me tightly.
I draw back, shocked by her fragility;
stick arms like bird’s legs,
breath wreaking of sulphur
Maybe she senses my dilemma?
Tears well up in her puffy eyes
We had a wonderful childhood, she says,
Shall I make us tea?
My voice is shaky
She nods, attempts a weak smile
I fight back the tears
Please, just keep going a little while longer…
She lowers her eyes, averting my gaze
But I know in my heart of hearts
that sadly I have to let her go,
This will probably be our last time together
-Tim Fellows from his pamphlet (See below)
Bios And Links
is a poet and writer from Chesterfield whose poetry is heavily influenced by his background in the Derbyshire coalfields – family, mining, politics, and that mix of industry and countryside that so many mining areas had. People can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy of the pamphlet