The Best Day Ever
We sat on the rug behind the
Bedford van eating our picnic.
The van masked us from the breeze
blowing from the sea and masked
the primus stove that slowly
boiled the water for our tea.
We ate boiled eggs and tomatoes
chicken legs and slices of pink ham
Johnny put jam on chicken and
mustard on his ham. He said the
tomatoes were the biggest ever.
My mother and my grandmother
my aunties and their babies
and around about my auntie's
husbands playing 'pitch and toss'.
I was allowed to keep all the pennies
that landed in my reach and
Other people came by and stoping
their cars they chatted for a while
'Wasn't that a grand day? ', they'd
ask. And we all agreed that it was.
Then Granny said - it was the best,
the best day ever, and it was.
Afterwards the babies rolled on the rug
while their mothers hung their nappies
on the roof-rack of the van.
On the roof-rack of the old Bedford where
they were already blowing in the wind.
Later, when the spaces were empty
the day grew darker and the wind blew harder.
It blew through the grass picking
up the sand and blowing it about.
Later still when we were all far away
Johnny died unexpectedly. Some years
later my granny died, then my mother.
Recently my uncles have begun to die
and soon it will be the babies. And
before that I suppose it will be me
Sean Joyce's Other Poems
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