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.