Grandma's House


I loved to go to Grandma's house

When I was very small.

Those big old empty rooms upstairs 

Always seemed so tall.

I'd play up there without a care,

With just one chair, that's all.

Imagination was my friend;

I'd gladly play alone.

I'd be a pirate captain, or

A king upon a throne.

Then I'd be a wizard, who

Would turn things into stone!

My mother's voice would end my play,

Calling from below.

I'd grumble and complain out loud,

But then I'd slowly go

Down into the furnished rooms,

With coal fires all aglow.

Lemonade and chocolate cake

Would suddenly appear.

Grandma, with a smile would say,

"Here you are, my dear!"

I'd smile right back and thank her,

Then make it disappear!

Soon it would be time to leave,

And we would kiss goodbye.

Grandma would stand by the door,

A tear within her eye.

I'd turn and wave, and she'd wave back,

Then give a gentle sigh.

Copyright © Robert Haigh 2017

Author's Notes/Comments: 

 The Victorian coffeepot in the photograph was originally my grandmother's. She gave it to my mother and my mother eventually passed it on to me. My wife likes to use it as a flower vase (as you can see), but every time I see it I am reminded of both my mother and my grandmother.

Bluebell Wood

Within this treeless space once stood

A knot of trees, quite beautiful to see.

In childhood here I played, in Bluebell Wood,

Little thinking that in time it could

Be torn away from me.

They cut down every single tree

And levelled what was once my secret den.

Bluebell Wood destroyed then by decree.

A highway runs through where it used to be.

My mind drifts back to when...

Wild bluebells carpeted the ground,

And friendly trees seemed happy to by climbed.

No better recreation could be found

Than playing in that wood with joyful sound,

As childhood reason rhymed.

Bluebell Wood, gone for good — or bad.

Progress rides roughshod over childhood dreams,

Caring little for what we have — or had.

"The future waits for no-one here, my lad!"

The past just dies, it seems.

Copyright © Robert Haigh 2015

Author's Notes/Comments: 

Photograph by Douglas Haigh. This scene — on the edge of Blubell Wood — no longer exists. The whole area was cleared for the building of a new section of motorway.

I Could Be Wrong — But I'm Not!

When I was a lad, summers were longer.

Families were closer, and somehow stronger.

There were surely more birds and butterflies

That flitted and fluttered and filled the skies.

   I could be wrong — but I'm not!

Roads were much quieter — less traffic you'd see.

The grass was greener, and advice was free!

We played in the street, enjoying our games;

Neighbours were friendly — we knew all their names.

   I could be wrong — but I'm not!

We hadn't much money, but life was grand!

We walked to the shop with coppers in hand.

Big jars of sweets were there on display,

And we'd choose from different jars each day.

   I could be wrong — but I'm not!

Life was much simpler and worries were few.

Dad stoked the fire and mother made stew.

We'd all play Monopoly after our tea;

Back then not many folks owned a TV.

   I could be wrong — but I'm not!

Nowadays kids have oodles of stuff,

And still they want more. It's never enough!

When I was a lad I had what I'd got;

Not very much, and that was my lot!

   I could be wrong — but I'm not!


Copyright © Robert Haigh 2020

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Old Man

The driver at the traffic light is waiting for a change.

The new kid on the block is feeling kind of strange.

The sacrificial lamb still doesn't know its fate.

   An old man sits thinking he's probably too late.

The clock in the hallway struggles to keep time.

The poet in his study is searching for a rhyme.

The oak tree in the meadow is reaching for the sun.

   An old man now ponders and thinks his race is run.

The blackbird on the fence is happy just to sing.

The goldfish in the bowl knows barely anything.

The youth who once was lost has somehow found his way.

   An old man sits alone, with nothing left to say.

The jury can't decide what verdict it should reach.

The speaker is confused as he bumbles with his speech.

The king has lost his crown, and thinks of what he had.

   An old man remembers when he was once a lad.

Copyright © Robert Haigh 2015


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These Paths and Lanes


These paths and lanes I've walked along

So many times before.

They've barely changed throughout the years;

Still steeped in days of yore.

Old memories cry out to me,

With tales of family lore.

The cottage where my parents lived

Lies empty, looking sad.

I smile as I recall once more

The happy times we had.

But that was oh so long ago,

When I was just a lad.

St Martin's church, with steeple tall,

Stands proudly on the hill.

My uncle Joe once rang those bells,

And they are ringing still.

Old Joe's long gone  he's buried there,

Along with auntie Jill.

The farmland, stretching out for miles,

Has hardly changed at all.

The cattle grazing in the fields

Are just as I recall.

Same trees  the ones I used to climb 

Still stand there, by the wall.

I turn, then walk back to my car

Parked down beside the green.

I think about the friends I had,

Now gone, or never seen.

A one-hour drive and I'll be home.

She'll ask, "Where have you been?"

Copyright © Robert Haigh 2017


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Lo que no se cuenta



Un aplauso a
Todo eso que vive
Entre, tu mente y tu boca, y 
Que nunca llega a salir
Esos momentos tuyos
Que tuyos se han de quedar
Hasta dejar de existir

Eso que habita la mente en forma de recuerdo,
De furtivos momentos escondidos en la normalidad
Detrás de un "nada" hay toda una vida en un instante
Un instante de vida oculta y presa
Entre tu memoria y tu boca


Author's Notes/Comments: 

There will be a full translation of this poem, just be patient plis :) ly

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Frivolity in the Midst of Danger

Come on, take my hand.

There’s a stunning carnival

Right in front of us.


It lights up the night

Like a group of fireflies.


Don’t you see that we have

A chance to rule the night?


So what are you waiting for?


There’s lots to do.

So much to see.

Our hearts will guide us.

No point in holding back now.


We only live once.

We can’t waste this time away.

The night is so young,

But baby, so are we at heart.


The park is stunning.

It’s everything that

I dreamed of.

Why did I delay before?


Now that I’m grown up,

There’s no chains to hold me down.


Come on, take my hand.

The rest of our lives await!


Why are you so scared?

Is the rotating wheel barrel blocking our path?

Did the power outage cause your heart to beat so loud?


Intensive moments build up character and bravery.

Your fears are below you now.


The storm may have

Crashed the party,


But that’s not how I see it.

Being so close to danger


Puts what we’ve learned to the test.

So let’s stand our ground.

And not wait until tomorrow.


The park is stunning.

It’s everything that

I dreamed of.

Why did I delay before?


Now that I’m grown up,

There’s no chains to hold me down.


Come on, take my hand.

The rest of our lives await!

Lost In An Anxiety Dream

The dream, an early morning awakening.


Past and present merge.


I’m in an unfamiliar place,


Staring at a concrete intersection,


Searching for known landmarks,


Trying to establish which way to go.


Each road leads to confusion.




Echoes of childhood have vanished for ever,


The familiar buildings replaced by office blocks,


And I stand alone by the crossroads, lost and without purpose.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I have always had a keen interest in dreams and what they tell us. 

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Alligator Snapper

My father brought a giant snapping turtle home

and plopped it on the driveway

big as a garbage can lid

and pissed as hell

reeking of years of pond muck

Don't get too close to it

he warned my little sister and me

It'll take your toes off, maybe your whole foot


We poked at it with very long sticks

as it moved in slow, defensive circles

puffed up to twice its size

hissing in a continuous, menacing monotone

sounding for all the world like a punctured tire

or a gas station air hose


Fascinating and horrifying

this stinking, loud, unseemly monster

Long tail just like an alligator, tucked tightly around itself

three-inch claws scritching across the concrete

Impossibly long neck, spring-loaded

shooting out with deadly precision

great beak snapping with murderous intent

at the sticks we thrust toward it with borrowed bravado


Dad said we were going to have turtle soup that night.

Sticks clattered to the driveway

as we gaped at him 

Choking up on his axe handle

He assured us turtle soup was considered a delicacy

Then grabbed the tail of that



clawing beast 

and dragged it around to the 7-foot tall woodpile

under the back deck

We clasped hands and made to follow, wide-eyed


Girls, he said, go inside; you shouldn't watch this

We skittered away without protest

My sister ran to her room to cry

But I

I crept quietly out onto the deck

I lay down, peering between the slats

and watched


I saw the axe blade fly, just once

a flash and


the whole deck shook

I heard the head roll out of view


Dad nailed the headless turtle by its shell

to a log in the pile

Its limbs still churned slowly, devoid of intent

clawing at nothing

I watched as thick crimson rivulets

ran down the woodpile into the sparse grass


I had never seen so much blood.


The wicked blade of the fillet knife moved with precision

glinting through broken beams of sunlight

Turtle chunks plunked wetly into a big yellow bowl

the same one we used for popcorn


That night 

as I pushed my "delicacy" around my bowl with a spoon

My father declared that turtle meat keeps moving

long after it's butchered

He said it sometimes keeps swimming around in your stomach, 

even after you've swallowed it


I announced loudly

that I hadn'f felt anything moving in my belly

my sister said she hadn't either 

and besides

we knew it wasn't true

Dad just smiled mischeviously

And ladled himself another bowl

For the rest of the evening we were vigilant

to the slightest intestinal slither

and the next day too

probably even the day after


It rained that night, slow and steady

rinsing the blood from the grass under the deck

leaving only the dark splatter-stains on the woodpile

Those stains were still there

when Dad threw the logs on the fire that winter

I know because I checked.


Dad said we were going to keep the turtle shell

as a souvenir

so he left it nailed to the log in the woodpile for weeks 

scraps of withering meat still clinging to it


I used to crouch on the deck and peer through the slats 

just to make sure those turtle chunks

weren't still moving

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