Posted in Before the Rain

Helping Hand

Margaret Thatcher famously disclaimed having an au pair,
her children’s upbringing was, she said
overseen by a nanny – “an English nanny.”
An English nanny –

as reliable as good behavior at a funeral.
Not the risqué stories and drunkenness of a wedding.

A nanny :
skirt below the knee
top button – buttoned.
No flights of fancy,
French knickers,
flirtation …or worse.

I always said I was a probationary employee.
Probation sounded sensible –
temporary equated with finite.
Probation : expected to meet defined standards.
I could. And was.

What happens when a knot loosens?
A hard-working and reliable nanny
asked to stay in, so employees can go out – no payment –
but the keeper of the house knows,
everybody knows
about the Christmas holiday to Barbados.
Dates booked – numbers yet to be confirmed.

There was no path –
people just made one to my door ….
could I help them with ???
…. hops, raspberries, asparagus…..
What might a trade unionist have said
I said, “YES”
I had a destination in mind – permanent staff.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.