In this Still Life my grandmother,
widowed thirty years,
painted lilies in August;
lilies her cross grandson
used to pen-knife the stems of,
whack his younger sibling’s bare legs with.
I was that younger grandson,
she took no notice,
didn’t reprimand him.
We’d do as we pleased
in her garden so long as we didn’t disturb
her easel, could run rings round her
without her caring a whit. She rested in rain
or if it got too hot
and for tea always after three.
She could paint all day under the tree,
once she even painted a bee
but there’s no trace of that one now.
These paintings are all we have of her;
framed, unframed, finished and half finished.
She called everything Still Life.