The Old Back Garden

It served as allotment during the War,
still boasted gooseberries, rhubarb
and a row of blackcurrant bushes.

Dad struggled to tame the long grass
with a new mower and rake but T.B
left him weaker than he realised.

Chickweed advanced, nettles stung
and I blew dandelion-clocks, made
daisy-chains, arranged white clover

in water-filled jam jars though Mum
warned it would wilt and turn brown
like the buttercups I held under her chin.

Blackcurrants took a day to collect
in a metal pail, I knelt beside Mum
but she said I mithered her too much.

Later, while she bustled in the kitchen,
I tiptoed out again, mushed stray fruit
into my mouth and purpled my lips.


Sheila Jacob lives in Wrexham, was born and raised in Birmingham and enjoys writing about her ’50’s childhood. She recently self -published a short collection of poems about her father, who died when she was almost fifteen. Her work has been published in several magazines over the past three years.