Grandmother’s Wisdom London 1944

Gargee read the tea leaves
and often she was right ─
swirled them round in the cup
tipped them out into the light.
I’m going to die on Wednesday
she said — gave us all a fright.
If I were you I’d stay in bed
at least until Wednesday night
is over, said my mum.

Don’t be daft girl said Gargee,
I’m going out to lunch.
Oh please don’t we said – we had a hunch
but there’s nowt so daft as folk
and Dad’s ma was daft as most
so off she went in her best fur coat

to the café round the corner
as the air raid siren went.
Most trooped down to the shelter
but Gargee was intent
on having her lunch as usual.
The doodlebug’s fuel was spent.
the pilotless plane tumbled silently
and the rest is history
Gargee no longer read the tea.


This true story was written for the dVerse Poet’s Pub prompt to “to write about everyday life with an element of wonder or dotted with psychic bus stops that are sometimes unfathomable to ourselves”.  


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, rhyming poetry, story poems and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Grandmother’s Wisdom London 1944

  1. Good grief! Quite a story; and a delightful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. tialys says:

    I loved your personal tale of the Blitz Viv – my Mum is a Londoner and has some horror stories to tell of sheltering in the tube stations and coming out to see peoples’ houses reduced to rubble. Your Grandma sounds like such a character and I guess she thought that, if she was going to go, better do it in her best coat

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved the poem! I kind of agree. When it’s our time, it’s our time no matter where we are. So enjoy the day. Have a silly one.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Glenn Buttkus says:

    A marvelous telling of a life ending, & a marvelous woman. When it is our time, we cannot flee, or hide, so why not make love, or enjoy a meal, & then toss the tea in death’s face unafraid. How insightful of you to realize that my poem was mostly autobiographical as well. I was in that theater in Sydney, & it was my last professional job as an actor.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amazing story, well told in poetry all the more stunning since it is based in truth.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. colonialist says:

    These strange true tales do make one wonder – had she stayed in bed, or gone into the shelter, would something have caused her to cop it anyway? Not for us to know, but one surely does wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Mary says:

    Really a delightful tale, Viv!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. What a character, and what a story.. to me it really could have been unreal, but knowing this was not, it’s just how the tea-leaves could know that leave me with the magic… and really a sad story too.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sanaa Rizvi says:

    I admire her relentless spirit to do what she wanted to do… though it did not end well. A truly gripping piece 🙂

    Lots of love,


  10. What a character she was. I hope to be as daft as she one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh my goodness, what a story, Viv! This is amazing. My grandma read tea leaves too. I can see your Gargee, sailing off to lunch in her fur coat.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Misky says:

    Oh dear! 😦


  13. Grace says:

    I admire the attitude to facing that ultimate journey of death – go out with style in your own way ~ She must have been a character, a lot of spunk and speaks her own mind ~ The timing of the event is memorable, what a day~

    Thanks Viv for the personal share and wishing you a happy week ~


    • Thanks, Grace. She really was a one-off. My big sister and I were running ahead in a big department store, 70-ish Gargee following on with Mum. ” Grandma, come and look at this” from my sister – quick as a flash, our Dad’smum pretended to look round, and replied “it’s all right dear Grandma’s over there. She’ll be here in a minute.”


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