That was the year we all had a crush on Miss Mayland.
A year of triumph and disaster
And we did keep our heads.

We swam a mile at the lido,
Domini, Kevin and me.
The weather was grey,
the water too cold at fifty degrees.
We sang as we swam
Rose, Rose I love you
Skin starting to crinkle
A you’re Adorable
Strokes slower and slower
I’d like to get you
On a slow boat to China.
Counting the lengths –
when can we stop?

That was the year that they kicked Churchill out.
Everything grey
Everything drear
Rationing still at its worst.
Ten million for the spectacles and eightpence for the meat
At Much Binding in the Marsh.
Everyone grim,
everyone grumpy.

That was the year we sang at the Festival:
How beautiful they are, the lordly ones.
Precise, rehearsed and drilled
heartless girls but we all did our best.
So we won, we won, we won.

On the way home we sang on the bus.
Took off our hats and shouted.
What would they say at the Convent?
Took off our gloves, shock horror.
What would they say at the Convent?
At Church street we went in the chippy.
How frightful, what would they say?
Fish and chips in the street
in our prim uniforms
but no hats and no gloves.  It was good.

We paraded our triumph, our pride and our sin,
broke all the rules in loud celebration,
banished the grey.

I already wrote one grey poem today.  This is an old one for Victoria who wants us to talk about colour and mood.



All poetry, prose and pictures posted here, except where otherwise stated, is my own, and may only be used elsewhere with my expressed permission. Please don't be inhibited from correcting my bloopers and making suggestions: Most of what I post here is instant, ill-considered and off-the-cuff, in serious need of editing.
This entry was posted in life writing, longer poems, story poems and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Grey

  1. colonialist says:

    This is brilliant. The varied images come across so clearly. And the grey banished by being oh so slightly rebellious!


  2. The greys, the white gloves… from glum to celebratory. Your WWII memories are always great, but to have one in poetry is so welcome, Viv. I remember my mom saying she was in Chicago, and she kissed every damned soldier she could get her hands on, and she and Blanche danced in the streets. They were so much more vested in the Western Front… Amy


  3. Viv, I loved this poem. You had me right there with you, in the moments. Wonderful.


  4. Viv, this is such an effective use of color. The post-war years in Great Britain, from what I’ve read, where surely bleak–a bleakness that could only be described using grey. I think this is one of my favorites of your work. Maybe I’ll post and old grey poem too, although today is brilliant orange.


  5. Bastet says:

    interesting how you composed this poem, I found it enjoyable and liked the ending very much…a cool way to go through memory lane.


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