Ada Cambridge

(21 November 1844 – 19 July 1926 / St Gemans, Norfolk)

Granny - Poem by Ada Cambridge

Here, in her elbow chair, she sits
A soul alert, alive,
A poor old body shrunk and bent -
The queen-bee of the hive.

But hives of bees and hives of men
Obey their several laws;
No fiercely-loving filial throng
This mother-head adores.

This bringer of world-wealth, whereof
None may compute the worth,
Is possibly of no account
To anyone on earth.

Her cap and spectacles, that mean
Dim eyes and scanty hairs,
The humble symbols of her state -
The only crown she wears.

Lacking a kingdom and a court,
A relic of the past,
Almost a cumberer of the ground -
That is our queen at last.

But still not wholly without place,
Nor quite bereft of power;
A useful stopgap - a resource
In many a troubled hour.

She darns the stockings, keeps the house,
The nurseless infant tends,
While the young matrons and the men
Pursue their various ends -

Too keen-set on their great affairs,
Or little plays and pranks,
The things and people of their world,
To give her thought or thanks -

The children on whom all her thought
And time and love were spent
Through half a century of years!
Yet is she well content.

The schooling of those fiery years,
It has not been for nought;
A large philosophy of life
Has self-less service taught.

The outlook from the heights attained
By climbings sore and slow
Discovers worlds of wisdom, hid
From clearest eyes below.

So calmly, in her elbow chair,
Forgotten and alone,
She knits and dreams, and sometimes sighs
But never makes a moan.

Still dwelling with her brood unseen -
Ghosts of a bygone day -
The precious daughter in her grave,
The dear son gone astray -

And others, to whom once she stood
As only light and law,
The near and living, and yet lost,
That need her love no more.

Watching their joyous setting forth
To mingle with their kind,
With scarce a pang, with ne'er a grudge,
At being left behind.

'Let them be young, as I was young,
And happy while they may' . . . .
A dog that waits the night in peace
Since it has had its day.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, March 2, 2010



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