Covid Loss

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My grandad, Graham Marlow

Carmina Masoliver, Barnsley, Yorkshire, 2nd January 2021

A poem written in memory of my grandad who died from Covid after being hospitalised with pneumonia. Recorded by Muddy Feet Poetry.

flat cap
cravat
chain around his neck

comb stroke
pipe smoke
strolling through the rec

he jokes about having the cow round, with extra pints of milk for me.
When the silence asks to be filled, he comes out with a story.

Anecdotes from the workshop, tales with punchlines and word play,
he teaches Yorkshire dialect and I don’t know what to say

about the suddenness of this absence of loud hand claps and finger whistles,
of picking blackberries and greater burdock thrown at each other with its sticky bristles.

He shows me the mouthpieces to his trumpet, his studio: a small cupboard where the fold-out mattress lives.
We try to hold onto these memories, as time passes through sieves.

Though he still feels like a boy, I become a woman, and we share books, go to poetry nights –
though what he sees is a world apart from his band and church life

but his eyes are open wide as his ears,
as his handkerchief soaks up my tears.

We all walk the same way, will be there
in Cawthorn, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, beside us, where

strolling through the rec
pipe smoke
comb stroke

chain around his neck
cravat
flat cap

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