Sunday, 7 April 2013

A Valediction to gambling on the horses - Day 7

A Valediction to gambling

Grandad, with eight children
in a noisy two-up, two-down,
saves some coins
for Sunday afternoon in the Bookies,
quiet in it's frenzy of hope and desperation.

He takes a pen
writes poetry
on the back
of redundant betting slips.

He writes
in the same neat block print
my Dad employs.

Nanna, one of five girls,
sailor father left them in Maryport.
Nanna, easily feeds fruit machines
a tenner and buys scratchcards by the dozen,
but doesn't put the heating on until you can see her breath.

Pop, only bets on National Day.
He picked the horse with rudest name
and I clearly remember
a dizzy afternoon spent at the bed-side
of his pulmonary embolism
shouting on the horse
only children would shout for
with Pop shouting loudest.

And I wonder if anyone ever found the notes
they left each other every night
either of them had a hospital stay.
Their scrawl difficult to read
on paper in ink in hearts
tied together by 7 decades together.


  1. Love it Sarah - take out the 'only notes' comment, you don't need that!

  2. Great storytelling

  3. Sunriser. Thanks. Removed x
    Turtlepurple. Thanks x