When I was at junior school we’d got
a very far-seeing teacher
she had a little library and we used to borrow
those books from her bookshelf
we were supposed to write
a commentary about what we thought
Swallows and Amazons and the William books
the Katy books and Anne of Green Gables
When I was 22 and married we rented
a part-furnished cottage out in Derbyshire
it was an hour’s walk to the nearest bus-stop
but the mobile library would come
right out to all those isolated places.
I can’t remember any of the titles but I remember
this one and it was really tragic
my husband came home from work and says to me
Who’s upset you? Who’s upset you?
When they were wanting to train mature people for teaching
I’d still got a little boy, hadn’t I, the one born
later than the others and my mother went mad
You’ve got three children here, and there you are going to college!
I thought Mother, I’m nearly forty five
I decided to do this A-level in English Literature
I sort of got that thirst for knowledge again
When I went up to Richmond College I was nearly
up the wall I was so frustrated
I was getting
my mind was working on the wrong things in
a black hole. I’d be putting the washing
in the washing machine thinking, now,
he says this essay’s got to have
a good start – a wholesome middle – and a good end.
I’d be planning it in me head and my mind
It was life-saving, that.
Well. It didn’t do me marriage any good
but it kept me sane.
Eleanor Brown 2015