The day my Ouma was finally burned,
(Oh wait, is that inappropriate?)
The day my Ouma was set fire to-
(Still too on the nose? Ok.)
The day my Ouma was able to leave her physical body so that she could transcend to some higher plane of existence that we still have to debate over, despite it being thousands of years since it’s conception, or rather the conception of the idea,
We listened to Toots and the Maytals.
(How is that better?)
It wasn’t that she ever really liked Toots and the Maytals, in fact I never heard her even mention them. We just wanted to listen.
Allow me to tell you about my Ouma.
As I had known her, she was a bitter old South African woman.
She didn’t talk to me often.
Whenever we went to her house, she and my dad would sit together for hours
with cups of coffee
on two old battered armchairs
in their old family home in the middle of Birmingham.
The floorboards creaked under even the lightest amount of pressure
The carpet was at least 20 years old.
She had an odd kitchen,
Very tiny with a hatch that opened up into the living room.
There was only one video that would play on her old TV,
A tiny box that sat in the corner.
The video was “Ice Age”, I think.
She had bought it just as VCR was dying out, deciding she needed something for the grandkids to watch.
We loved “Ice Age”.
The conservatory didn’t have a floor, just concrete.
It was covered in white paint form an accident that had been left unattended.
And the garden!
Huge and circular and beautiful.
I remember that she tended to it every day.
Even in winter, it was an explosion of colours.
I remember running around it for hours and hours,
learning how to tend to it,
memorising the name of every flower.
When I think of my Ouma, my first impression is bitterness.
But when I really think of her, I think of
A strange old house.
There was laughter in that house.
And there was laughter in the car,
As we drove back from the funeral.
Listening to Toots and the Maytals.
Remembering the light and life found in a grey place,
And a house full of memories that would never be ours again.
(Really not sure about this one so I’ll leave it without tags. I’m not even sure if it counts as poetry, I just followed a train of thought without really planning.But anyway! I hope you all see at least a few redeeming features in it.)