How It Was, Then


With men away
at war
the women worked.
The women cooked.
They held up the ceilings.
They chased trams in ill-fitting shoes.
They dreamed of chocolate.
They dreamed in cinema dark.
They smiled frozen in old photos,
in frocks and pencilled calves.
They stank of babies.
You got new uncles.
They got friendly with butchers.
They whispered in kitchens.
They beat the fuck out of carpets.
They let the kids run riot,
form gangs, fight feral foes,
tucked them in come bedtime.
They’d laugh from their bellies.
They’d look fifty when they were thirty.
They were hugs dispensers.
But they kept it all in.

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6 thoughts on “How It Was, Then

  1. I knew these heroines so well as a Brit kid growing through post war trauma…mums, aunties, neighbors…You knew them too I think, enough to write these fine words that evoke their spirits so perfectly…I remember childhood hugs into aprons that smelled of gravy and onions…

  2. Yes this was how my mum dad would have described those poor women’s lives too. It’s no wonder their mothers didn’t lose their minds entirely. So horrible, young lives had to lived like that. You describe it very powerfully Brian – really love this poetry!

    Thanks so much for contacting me on The Writing Garden with a link to your blog! Sorry it’s been a while in getting back to you, I’ve had a lot more submissions over the last two issues – it’s taken some time to get through them all! I’d love to publish this in the next issue of the magazine, if that’s okay with you? πŸ™‚

  3. Pingback: The Writing Garden ~ Issue Eleven | The Writing Garden

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