The Old Grey Mare*

She was resourceful, my mother,
she'd been an old grey mare* after all
during the second world war.
'You'd need a face like horse '
she used to say,
'not to find someone.'

After the war, when the magpies dived
during the Spring, she found
an old pith helmet to cover her head
as she braved the washing line.
'I'm not sure where it came from.
It was probably your father's.'

My mother was the best prompter
in Warrandyte. 'Never fear, Niddie's here'
I found written on a card from the cast
of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
thanking her for all her loud whisperings
from the prompt corner.

When she was old and bed-ridden,
she came to live with us. She dozed
a lot, and listened to 3LO on the radio.
'You know darling, ' she used to say
'However awful things get
There's always tea and bed'.

She had shelves and shelves of detective stories,
which she read and re-read daily.
'I've usually forgotten who did it,
but the stories are pleasantly familiar.'
She died on her birthday, June 28
with Agatha Christie beside her on the pillow.

A poem for my mother, Enid Mary Bird 1905-1993

*This was the term used to describe the Australian Army Nurses during the Second World War.

by Alison Cassidy

Comments (7)

This was a powerful, compassionate woman of steel and roses. 'No matter how awful things get, there's always tea and bed.' She was telling you not to worry for her, but for yourself. Alison. There's no better way you could have written this poem. None.xxElysabeth
This is a great tribute to the best friend in the world. Her name is Mother and her unlimited love cannot compare to the oceans? What a wonderful connection the mother and daughter brings here. The rare prodigy you have is gifted by her I am sure.
A most compelling, powerful and admirational tribute to a Mother of many a talent and trait....Your diligent attention to chronicle sequence lends solid uniformity and text quality....By stories end, somehow i felt that i had met your Mom, & ALSO BASED ON YOUR WORK, I WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD & HONORED TO SAY I HAD....A Brilliant piece of literary work, Allie....Your Mom is surely proud of you, & well she should be''''''''''''''''''''FRANK
absolutely wonderful dedication to your mother. it skirts clear of a lament and retains such a genuine loving tone. really enjoyed this work, Alison. -Tailor B.
A wonderful piece which threatens to roam into sentimentality but doesn't fullfill the threat. The narration is wonderful and works very well for this portrait style. The role of mother is a useful tool for writer, that this mother played a part in the war is a very telling thing. I really enjoyed reading this Alison.
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