Lydney Grandad

This is a work in progress, inspired by the above photograph of my Grandfather and his family.


Part One –

Looking out of the window of what they call a “care home”

You call it a hospital

Pick up the photograph

Oh to see the Ganges again, feel the ground of sun-soaked history beneath your toes

Himalayas the breath-taking backdrop to your everyday

Playing games at Tughluqabad Fort in Delhi, dreaming of Lakshmi Bai

Chai-Spiced air and sepia toned memories

It’s like looking into the eyes of your own future-past

Uttar Pradesh a long way back

Uttar Pradesh, shining indelibly

Uttar Pradesh a place you called home


Part 2

In a cold grey forest

Recollections hard to come by

British weather never acclimatised

Married a dentist in a west London registry office

From forts in Bombay to greengrocers in Acton

A train station in Lydney, such are life’s journeys

What were your thoughts on a cold day in May

thousands of miles away from early morning drills in the blistering sunshine

Met you but never knew you

Looking into photographic eyes

A dear sister gone, set free upon the wind, only her far off stare remains

The man who loved her also just a footnote on a family tree



Part Three

A familiar whisper talks to me in dream flecked shadows

There was a banjo you sometimes played

Scrambling up the stairs away from excited dogs

Dentistry equipment on a rack in the bathroom

Cars coated in iron

Hiding in cupboards, climbing over fences

Wooden ladybirds perched in a row, their gas-fired mantel a domestic throne

Questions never asked

I dream of your face

The last of your memories may have escaped

The white paint on the gate is still the same

but the years have faded it along with my face

Walking down the road we followed the hearse

A son holding a mother’s hand

You both came from far away

Strong and mythical

Now frail and small

In my imagination I hear Shāstriya Sangīt

Drifting over the banks

of a mighty famous river

Mighty river

now a lake full of ducks

I can see the rugby posts and hear the steam trains

The slide as tall as before

Every time I approach with a note-book

the chances seem further away

Close my eyes and hear distant drums

The warm sun is calling me back to my ancestral home

©John de Gruyther 2014

2 thoughts on “India

  1. This is an exciting piece of writing, and i hope you will try and place it at some point. How are you planning on changing it?


    • Thanks Rachael, no drastic changes but I was thinking of some more detail in part one and two (just a couple of lines) and the odd tweak here and there… I will definitely try and place it 🙂
      Sent from my BlackBerry smartphone from Virgin Media


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