SUGAR BORROWING 1951 | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Children Bookmark and Share


I sat on the top step
of the black
metal staircase
leading up to Auntie's
second floor flat

Auntie's black dog
had its chin
over my shoulder
looking down the stairs

it was a warm morning
soldiers were marching
on parade on
the drilling square
to my right

the sound of voices
and marching feet
hung on the morning air

Elsie Auntie's friend
Milly's five year old daughter
began walking up
the stairs one step at a time
holding on
to the black metal rails
which held up
the banister rail
with her small hand

I watched her
walk up slowly
she looked at each step
as she came

Dancer softly growled
she looked up at us

what do you want?
I said

she looked at me pouting
got to ask your auntie
about borrowing some sugar
my mum said
Elsie said
as she reached
the third step
from the top
is your auntie in?

sure she is
I said
did you want me
to ask her?

Elsie reached the top landing
of the staircase
and looked along
where Auntie lived
no I can ask her
Mum said I was to ask
Elsie said
don't need
a 4 year old
to ask for me
she said

I said and watched  
as she walked along
to Auntie's door
and knocked on the wood
with her small fist

I got up and walked
to where she stood

Dancer just sat
on the step and looked at us

I waited to next to her
waiting for Auntie
to come to the door

where is she?
Elsie said moodily

knock again
I said

she knocked again
then the door opened
and Auntie stood there
and stared at me
o Elsie
what can I do for you?

Elsie looked up at Auntie
and said
Mum said to ask
for some sugar
as she wants to make a cake
but hasn't got enough
and I am to ask
if you have any spare
Elsie said

sure I have
Auntie said
and went inside

we stood
on the landing waiting
didn't need you
to stand next to me
she said glaring at me

just making sure
you got an answer
I said

she looked at me
with her dark eyes

Auntie came to the door
with some sugar
wrapped in a brown
paper bag
be careful Elsie
should be enough there
Auntie said

Elsie took the brown bag
and said
thank you for the sugar
and walked along
the landing to the stairs
then holding the bag
with one hand
she held each rail
and she went down
with the other hand holding

I walked along to the top
and looked down
and said
you want to come out
and play later

she looked back up at me
why would I?
she said
and walked on down
and off the bottom step
and began to walked away
then she stopped
and looked up and said
must ask Mum first
see what she says

I thought I almost saw
a smile lingering there
but she walked on
and it had gone.

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