I ... entered the poem of life, whose purpose is ... simply to witness the beauties of the world, to discover the many forms that love can take. (Barabara Blackman in 'Glass After Glass')

These poems are works in progress and may be updated without notice. Nevertheless copyright applies to all writings here and all photos (which are either my own or used with permission). Thank you for your comments. I read and appreciate them all, and reply here to specific points that seem to need it — or as I have the leisure. Otherwise I reciprocate by reading and commenting on your blog posts as much as possible.

3 February 2017

Spinster Aunty

Ugly Aunty Amy, who lived past eighty,
favourite aunt and great-aunt to the tribe,
was hard to look at without flinching
but we knew we mustn’t show it
(well brought-up, the lot of us) –
and that allowed each one of us 
to discover the warmth and wisdom
behind the booming voice, the boots, 
the plain square serviceable clothes
and that mottled, misshapen face.

She read and gardened, cooked,
went to church on Sundays, treated
us children to home-made lemonade, 
talked with us about those things
we couldn’t ask our parents. Listened too.
'Is that an engagement ring?' I asked
of the diamond she wore – trying to be silly, 
trying to be smart. 'Yes,' she replied, forthright,
'as a matter of fact it is' and told me the story
cheerfully, of the widower who offered.

Both were middle-aged. He was lonely,
thought she must be too. 
When she declined, not feeling that way,
he insisted she keep the ring
along with her freedom. She owned 
her house, hers alone, called Elouera
meaning 'a pleasant place' – and it was,
with its airy rooms and warm kitchen
its pretty garden of tall blooms
and the view across Warburton valley.

Written for Fireblossom Friday: Looking Beyond the Obvious at 'imaginary garden with real toads', in which we are asked to focus on an apparent subject and slip in a detail that is really more important.

I have since Googled Aunty Amy (Amy Isabel Noar). Although there is little information, I found she lived to 89. No birth or death dates are given.  She was the oldest sister of my paternal grandmother, Alice Robinson, née Noar, who lived from 1879-1959. There were several sisters in between whom I never met: Grandma was the youngest. I last saw Aunty Amy in 1954 when I was 15. She seemed fit and healthy then, belying her years. I know she predeceased Grandma, but it's so long ago I don't recall the year.


  1. Quite a lady!And Elouera...how nicely it rolls off the tongue!

  2. Lovely description of the character here leading us away from the idea of pleasant perhaps?

    1. There is something slipped in which is even more important than that. (And there's a clue in the title.)

  3. I like this description of a strong and unapologetic woman. People may have tried to describe her as unlovable (and therefore marriageable), but by the end we know she was loved for exactly who she was and her solitude was respected.

  4. Interesting that her suitor imagined that she must be lonely, when in fact she sounds quite self-sufficient!

  5. Always! there is one of the tribe womanhood who knows how to stand up to tradition

    Good for her.

    Much love...

  6. "A pleasant place", a good clue to her preferance for solitude, with which I resonate. Pretty cool, him letting her keep the ring.

  7. Alone is not always lonely, and there is a lot of spinning in this world that needs a strong woman's hand, and a diamond's light.

  8. There are so many people like Amy that other people don't let through the front door. Such a pity!

  9. Ah, glad to see most of you got the idea. It is the word 'freedom' which I meant as the specific detail – that and the fact of owning her own home.

  10. First time here. I so enjoyed this poem, of a plain-spoken woman, whose warmth left an indelible memory.

  11. Oh yes, enjoyed reading this description and story. And the poetry of it. And her character. I think most of us have an equivalent wonderful person in our family.

  12. She sounds like someone who I would have loved to meet--a lady of strong hands and strong heart willing to tale a story. I always tend to lean towards souls like her... It's as if they exude hug vibes.