My Grandad

Judith Barrow

grandad for sally's blogMy grandfather died seventy years ago this week. Obviously i never knew him and have only one small black and white photograph of him on my study wall. He’s standing in the backyard of the terraced house they lived in in Oldham. Lancashire. This is a poem I wrote about him a long time ago. My mother said he was gassed in WW1 and never recovered. 

My Grandad

I look at the photograph.

He smiles,and silently

he tells me

his story…


In my backyard I stand,

Hands wrapped around a mug of tea.

Shirt sleeves, rolled back,

Reveal tattoos – slack muscles.


I grin.

All teeth.

Who cares that they’re more black

Than white.


That’s my life;

That’s the grin I learned

When burned

By poison


Like wild garlic.

That’s the grin I wear

When I look

But don’t see

The dark oil glistening,

Blistering, inside me.

When I hear, but don’t listen

To my…

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