For my aunt who is my rock, my guide and my friend – and knows what this picture means…
Happy Birthday xxx
Aunts – Virginia Graham
Children, when you have gone your several ways,
And have sought the long day’s
Happiness, and the night’s elusive dream,
Incredible as it may seem
You will turn, at some moment, like thirsting plants
To your aunts.
Now, aunts are not glamorous creatures,
As very often their features
Tend to be elderly caricatures of your own.
Aunts use eau-de-cologne
And live in rather out-of-the-way places,
And wear pointed white shoes with laces
Tied in a neat bow.
Ooh I know, I know!
Nevertheless I maintain that when you are old enough to learn pain,
are acquainted with sorrow, and know what fear is,
your aunts will not seem nearly such drearies,
When you’ve broken off your engagement and want to hide,
you will go to Aunt Beatrice in Ambleside.
When the charwoman falls down dead,
Aunt Edith will give you a bed.
When your heart breaks, as hearts sometimes do,
Aunt Constance at Looe
will feed it on Cornish cream and philosophy,
soothe it with strawberries for tea;
and when, with the dew still behind your ears
you set forth to conquer wider spheres,
I do not think you will get much further the first night
than Aunt Maud in Shanklin, Isle of Wright.
Oh, yes, children, aunts are kind
and quite resigned
to the fact that you will not go near them for years,
and then bring them your tears.
Although at your tender age you resent their neglect of the Stage,
their inability to differentiate between jazz and swing,
and their poor reactions to Bing,
the day will dawn when they will rise up like rocks,
sheltering you with their long imprime frocks
and cornflowered hats worn at such hopeless slants –
your nigh – forgotten, soon remembered aunts.
image by ManuelSagra