WHEN WE GET OLDER 1963 | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Children Bookmark and Share


Magdalene sits opposite
her father at the dining table,
her mother is in the kitchen
dishing up the food.

Your ma says
that Maguire girl was here?
Her father says.

Magdalene looks
at him for a while.

What was she
doing here?
He says.

Listening to records,
and talking,
she replies.

But why was she here?
The reports from school
from the nuns
are not good, he says.

What mine?
Magdalene says.

No hers,
they've almost
given up on her,
he says.

Shame on them,
she says.

He stares at her,
no lip from you
or you'll feel my hand,
he says gruffly,
stay away from her,
she'll bring you no good.

Magdalene looks away
from him, looks
at the Scared Heart of Jesus
picture on the wall.

Her da goes on,
she listens to the music
in her head,
that Billy Fury song,
thinking of her and Mary
in the bed, kissing  
and touching.

Her ma comes in
with two plates of stew
and puts them down
in front of them both,
then goes out again.

Her da still yaks,
Billy Fury still sings.

Her ma comes in
with her own plate of stew,
and sits down at the table.

I've told her to stay away
from the Maguire girl,
the father says
to the mother.

Make sure you do,
her ma says.

Magdalene gazes
at her mother.

Billy stops singing;
her ma's voice has
driven him away.

I will,
Magdalene says,
beginning to fork
in the dumpling.

Make sure you do,
I don't want her
round here again,
her da says.

Billy Fury sings once more,
Mary's hand touches her,
brings her to a seventh heaven,
and then she kisses neck,
and shoulder.

We'll run away,
Mary said,
when we get older.

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