Although we did our best
To pretend it wasn’t there
We kept It in the cellar
Just below the stair
We always locked the cellar
With a key kept in a drawer
(And kept the key to that beneath
A loose board in the floor)
Whenever we had to go down
We’d pile on several coats
And take a torch and hockey stick
A whistle, and a stoat
And after, Mum would hug us
And get the First Aid box
Then bin the coats and whistle
And burn our shoes and socks
(The stoat, all starey-eyed,
And often white-furred, too
We’d feed on milk and rabbit broth
Then take it to the zoo.)
We never spoke of It
Or what we saw down there
We never boasted of our scars
Or Janey’s frizzled hair
And Mum would bake a cake
Each cold Midwinter’s Night
Then open up the cellar door
And turn off all the lights
And we would sing (though quietly)
A certain silly song
Then hold our breaths and wait until
The cake and plate were gone
Then wish It Nighty-Night
And maybe Happy Birthday
Then lock the door and wash the floor
(Which really would be dirty)
And then, on Father’s Day—
But now I’ve said too much —
Is that a scratching sound I hear?
Well, ta-ta! Keep in touch!
Copyright © 2019 Murray Ewing.