* * * * *
Yesterday was a year to the day since my eldest sister, Mandi, died suddenly from a heart attack while out jogging.
I mentioned to LeedsBookClub ages ago that I fancied putting a poem on the blog in her memory. Just a tad late, but here it is…
First, a bit of background – as this may seem an odd choice for a memorial poem!
There was a bit of an age gap between Mandi and the rest of us: she was 11 when our second eldest sister was born; 13 when me and my twin were born. So she looked after us a lot as kids, acting as combination second Mum and mischievous playmate.
A born storyteller, she always read to us a lot. She had a real gift for making the words come alive. One of our favourite books was a collection of silly poems called “the curse of the vampire’s socks” – by Terry Jones. She read them so many times we soon dispensed with the book and just rattled then off by heart.
Our two favourites from this book were “Horace”, about a boy who eats himself (quite disturbing, in retrospect, but very funny!); and “In Mouldy Land”, which is below:
In mouldy land, in mouldy land,
They buy their mice in tins
They race elastic bandages
And shoot whoever wins
The shops are full of cobweb pies
The buses have bad feet
There’s homes for eaten sandwiches
Dead ends to every street
And yet the people live there well
As far as they can see
Add long as they’ve got treacle farts
And buttered bums for tea!
Cue us all bellowing the last two lines in unison, at the tops of our lungs, then collapsing into helpless laughter at the thought of treacle farts and buttered bums!
I just typed up that poem from memory – the book is long lost, but all these years later, I still know it by heart.
When I read it, I can hear it in Mandi’s voice, and hear her enormous mad laugh – she laughed louder than all of us put together.
I miss her more than I can say, but memories like this make me smile, and keep her alive.