Grandad Norman - Poem by Lindsey Priest
I’m going to write about my Grandad
Norman Newsome was his name,
And I did actually know him
And he knew me the same.
I know he was a quiet man
But he was proud of his family
Wife, daughter and two grandsons
And a grand-daughter, that’s me!
He was born in eighteen- ninety-two
in an northern industrial town,
A grimy place called Batley
Of very small renown.
Except for the manufacture
Of recycled woollen rags
A material known as shoddy
Used to make bags and bags
Of soldiers coats and uniforms
As they marched away to war,
And for slaves, it made a blanket,
No thought to give them more.
Grandad did work in woollen mills
For most of his adult life,
But this was interrupted
As he had to go and fight,
In the war which was to end all wars,
He fought bravely on the Somme,
And in nineteen-eighteen, came home again
He was a lucky one.
My mother always told me
That Grandad would not talk,
Of his experiences as a soldier
In the King’s Own Infantry of York.
In my house today, I have something
Which Grandad bought with pride
A clock which ticked upon the wall
And stopped the day he died.
So his son-in-law took custody,
Once a week when it was wound
As the pendulum started moving,
There were sighs of relief all round.
Another thing about my Grandad
Was that he smoked a pipe,
My Grandma couldn’t stand it
How often she would gripe,
But he kept all of his tobacco
Inside a pouch of leather,
The smell of it was glorious
As we sat, two of us together.
He liked to work outside a lot,
As much time as he could spend,
I think he was escaping Grandma,
So his ears, she could not bend.
He had a special place to go
Some land he had down the street,
He kept chickens, hens and rabbits
And to stroke them was our treat.
It has been said that when away
From home on holiday,
He counted every day off
As he didn’t want to stay.
He wanted to be home again
Near his own cosy fireside,
To hear his clock chiming the hour,
The clock that was his pride.
A phrase that he was said to use
Watching performers on a stage,
The silly beggars don’t realise,
It’s harder than working for a wage.
I often think of those wise words,
When watching plays at school,
The effort actors must expend,
Just to play the fool.
He died in nineteen -sixty
When I was six years old,
My Granny came to live with us
When their house had been sold.
Now in looking back I’m sorry
My knowledge is quite poor
There are things I’d really like to know
To be able to tell you more.
So I will ask my brothers
What they remember too,
And I’ll add to this, my poem
As soon as I can do!
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