Her Valiant Heart

A picture of my mother as a young girl
Sitting on a crate in a dishevelled back garden
A scarf turbaned round her head in the manner of the working class forties
In an old photograph
Always smiling for the camera
Most often with a gaggle of girlfriends
Perhaps teasing the men and trying to get attention
No guile, no pretensions no obvious ambition to take on the world
No showing off, just being herself, I think

Now I think of her last years
In a dysfunctional family
With an unloving husband
Her thick cracked hands
Her toothless face crinkled with age and worry
Her valiant heart deprived of affection
Her ears used to verbal abuse

How much of it was her fault
Her stubbornness; how she made a virtue of ignorance
But that laughter was always there
That delights in teasing menfolk
Even after the worst of marital experiences
A smile would gradually come back to her

But there was no rest from work for her
Bitterly she took the role of a drudge
I don’t think she was ever complimented for her work
Or given enough money to make a success of it
The home was kept clean and tidy
But the lack of love was telling
Except in her later years
She managed to gather some nice ornaments
Geese, swans, and collections of plastic figures out of boxes of teabags
And the prettiest curtains in the street
Of little blue, yellow and orange flowers

But words can’t say how hard her life had been
But more than her hard work
The injustice done to her through lack of affection
That she endured out of belief in her marriage vows
And one of the last memories I have of her
Is of a person who gave up hoping for affection
Who stood at the doorway as I went inside
And of the lost little kiss she was capable of giving
No longer existing in her heart for me
A few months later she was in hospital for the last time

Author: blackbird212012

I am interested in multimedia work: songwriting, art, and creative writing. I have been involved also in theatre and music performances.

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