A Poem by Hannah Mackay


Grandpa’s Garden
What kind of ancestor would you like to be?


This is the garden you tended for us,
tucked away at the end of an unmade road,
nearly in sight of the sea;
a green growing of life,
after study, science and service,
after making your contribution,
receiving your OBE.

This is the garden you tended for us;
a sun-trap for tea and cakes,
where those who like to work
water spinach and pick raspberries,
and those who like to rest
put their feet up on the floral cushions
of a reclining plastic deck-chair.

When you stopped for a break
between weeding and mowing the lawn,
Demi would rest in the shade,
planning her beagle adventures,
and the friendly robin would land on your chair
ready to help with the crumbs.

I come here to sit in my dreams,
summer sunshine, fragrant with roses,
between the house and the high, sheltering hedge,
podding peas and chatting, or idling on the ground.

This is the garden you tended for us,
the place beyond
where you chose to grow flowers.




Hannah Mackay’s poetry is informed by her healing practice as a shiatsu practitioner. Her interest in embodied creativity includes dance and movement, connection and quiet, stillness and words. Her Grandpa was Clifford Purkis, who retired to Cornwall after a career as a research scientist. She lives in Manchester.


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