Terry Collett

Gold Star - 22,113 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Being Dad 1951 - Poem by Terry Collett

Auntie and I
went to her friend
Milly's place
(a flat on the other side
of the parade ground)

she knocked at the door
and we waited
after a little while
the door opened
and Auntie's friend's
daughter Elsie stood there
staring at us

is your mum at home?
Auntie said

Elsie glowered at me
with her small eyes

I'll ask her
the girl said
and went back
into the flat

there was a murmuring
of voices from inside
then Milly appeared
o sorry about that
I was in the loo
Milly said
come on in

so we went in
the flat smelt
of past dinners
and hanging washing

we followed her
into the sitting room
and she said to sit down
so we did

Elsie her 5 year old daughter
stood by her doll's pram
staring at us

want some tea
and a bit of cake?
Milly said

that'd be nice
Auntie said

what about you Benny?
Milly said

can I have a glass
of water please?

she nodded
and went off
into the kitchen
and Auntie said
you go play with Elsie
let me and Milly
have a chat

I looked at Elsie
who was pushing
the doll's pram
around the room
looking at me darkly

ok
I said

Milly brought me
a glass of water
and a piece of fruit cake
and I said thank you
and then she brought a tray
with cups and pieces of cake
and sat with Auntie
and began to talk

go play with Elsie
Auntie said

I nodded and went over
to where Elsie
was rocking her doll
against her chest

I've come to play
I said

she looked at me
boys don't play with doll's
she said coldly

let Benny play
her mother said

don't want him
playing with my doll
Elsie said

you'll let him play
or I'll tan your backside
Milly said

Elsie stood looking
at her mother
then at me

you have to be the dad
she said
as if chewing
a piece of tough meat

I nodded and walked
with her to the pram
I didn't want to be the dad
or play with the doll
as I was a 4 year old boy
but it was better
than sitting listening
to Auntie and Milly talk

Elsie moodily pushed
her pram into the passageway
and I followed glumly

we're going shopping
she said
I push the pram
dads don't push prams

so I walked beside her
wisely silent
smelling the carbolic scent
she was wearing
and watching
her moody glare
wishing I was elsewhere
than there.

Topic(s) of this poem: childhood


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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 1, 2016



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