Mrs Polkinghorne – I see her yet.
For company two cats,
Driving her rattling wagonette,
Her horses wearing hats.
Straight as a poker was her back,
Her face stern as the sphinx –
No friendly nods or jokes to crack
And, oh, no passing winks.
We’d hear her coming miles away
And Mum, with happy face,
Would set our cracked cups on a tray,
And tidy up the place.
Mrs Polkinghorne, so lean and strong
(In her the soil had roots),
Wore number nines and we (so wrong)
Laughed at her hobnailed boots.
She brought us mutton down the years,
For which we seldom paid,
And some weeks Mum came close to tears,
As her excuse she made.
You might have thought her wagonette
Lopsided or would break,
The way it leaned when up she got
And gave the reins a shake.
Each week she came, always the same,
Way down the Bungo Flats,
Driving her bays adown the days,
With daisies in their hats.
Hal Gye. (James Hackston)