Thursday, October 26, 2006

african carvings from the boer war

a found poem

My grandfather was born in 1888
he didn't have a lifestyle: he had a life

He had a hat and a car and a wife
and two sons and a housekeeper and a maid
and a nanny for the children
and the housekeeper had a dog
and the dog had a canker and lived in a kennel

My grandfather read Charles Dickens mostly
Sometimes they went on holiday

His house was furnished with furniture
Brought back from exotic places
African carvings from the Boer [War]

Nobody had a lifestyle then
(there was nobody to tell them to)
they were too busy having lives
They were grown-ups
They went about their business

I suspect that my grandfather's life was real
in a sense that my father's life
hasn't quite been

and my life is not at all

Found in Michael Bywater's piece «We're all big babies» which appeared recently in the Telegraph, and was originally published in Granta.


Lolabola said...

ooh, like this one a lot. Someday when life slows down (read: on Monday) I will have to try one of these

Michael Bywater said...

Thanks for the name check. But just to clarify, it wasn't originally published in Granta (the magazine), but is from my book, Big Babies, published by Granta Books next Monday.

suttonhoo said...

how cool is that -- an author visit -- thanks for stopping by and for setting things straight -- just for good measure, here's a link to your book -- best of luck with it:

Big Babies by Michael Bywater

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