Dancing Dust

Poems by Mollie Caird (1922-2000)

A grouse in a pear tree
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Ten more shopping days,
Into-Woolworth's-popping days,
So-tired-she's-nearly-dropping days
For stalwart Mum:
Who must get the Christmas cards, the postage stamps, the holly boughs,
Who must buy the mistletoe, the baubles for the tree?
Who must choose and pack and post the presents for the relatives,
Be blamed if they're white elephants? - Who but she?

Eight more baking days,
Back-breaking, mince-pie-making days,
Head-aching, icing-caking days
For struggling Mum:
Who must try to housekeep in a rising tide of envelopes,
Put silver coins in puddings, hide the parcels as they come?
Who must fill the stockings, tip the postman, stuff the turkey,
Dress Wise Men for the pageant? - Yes, who but Mum?

Six more buying days,
Unquestionably trying days,
Sighing-almost-crying days
For suffering Mum:
'Peace on Earth' the angels sang, and carol singers tell us
That Christmas is the season when all strife and trouble cease;
Mum hears them too, and doesn't like to disbelieve the angels -
BUT WHEN ON EARTH DOES MOTHER GET HER LITTLE BIT OF PEACE?



Oxford Times, 13 December 1963
The Dancing Dust and other poems, 1983