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Showing posts from February, 2018

Evidence that Fran has been able to read for 52 years now

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I saw a news story about an 88 year old woman who had just learned to read for the first time. I wrote this short poem in response and it was published on a poetry website. 
Once upon a time
Once upon a time, all she could do was drift her hands along each silent spine or turn hieroglyph pages like a visitor lost in the streets of a foreign land, her forehead a frown of lines – a message of bewilderment she hoped others could not read.
Then, like whispers, or baby footsteps, or leaves dropping like scraps of tissue kissed by an infitesimal breeze, shapes on pages birthed sounds on her lips - each day a new one, a tiny gift – and in her mind, dragons, heroines, castles, pirates, the sighs of reunited lovers.





Here's the dear lady's story, if you'd like to watch the news clip.


Can you remember anything about when you learned to read? 
My father taught me to read when I was three years old. He wasn't the kind of father who'd lie on the floor and play with a train set o…

Gran, by Fran

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This is my Gran. 

She was called Kathleen (her grandmother was Irish) and she died just before Christmas 2017 aged 95. We used this picture for the front of the Order of Service at her funeral. She always looked chipper in pink or baby blue. 
She had three children: two girls and a boy. One girl was my mother, who died aged 31 after years tussling with alcoholism and unwise love choices. Another girl was my aunt, hurried into the graveyard at 60 by an impatient cancer. 
Her son, my uncle, has visited Gran daily for years and years, and I suspect his car still noses towards the road where the care home is by instinct. 
Since moving back from London to the Warwick area, where I was born, I've seen Gran once a week or so. When she was still in her own flat, I'd buy haddock and chips on a Saturday, puffing up the hill from the fish shop to her place. Sometimes we'd watch horse racing on TV or I'd pull out a crossword. Once she'd moved to the care home, my regular duty …