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When my mam had to go

Up north to look after gran,

Margaret’s mam said I could

Stop with them; while they were

Sorting it out Margaret looked

Away, pretending to go all shy

But there was a gleam in her eye,

Anyway it was the six weeks’

Holiday and six weeks with

Margaret night and day was a

Sun and blue sky heaven to my

Ten-year old heart.. the hot

Pavements we sat on telling stories,

The bin-yards we played catch-and-

Kiss in, the wagons with wheels

Higher than our heads we hid

Behind, the river bank we chased

Along, the green railings round

The locked petrol pumps you

Somersaulted over, your dress

Above your head, your navy

Blue knickers in full view.

Your mam said, "You two needn’t

Think you’re keeping me awake

All night with your stories,

I’ve put you together in the attic!"

There was an enormous double-bed

With a carved wooden head-board

And a counter-pane in green with

Tassels in between and a huge

White bolster. My mam would have

Had a fit but she was off on

The train to Durham City and even

Margaret herself was a bit surprised

At her mam being so easy going

But that was her mam all over.

There was a tiny skylight

With just enough light to see by,

A huge mahogany chest of drawers

And Margaret and me. I’d never

Undressed in front of a girl

Before and Margaret said, "Me mam

’Ad no business mekin’ us share"

And went a bit red as she pulled

Her dress over her head, firmly

Pushing teddy to the middle

Of the bed.

We could hear Margaret’s

Mam downstairs getting grandad’s

Supper, the smell of steak and

Chips rising. Margaret said,

"You can kiss me good-night

If you like" and I liked and

Kissed her then suddenly she

Asked "Do you know what they

Do in bed? You know what I mean!"

But I said I didn’t really.

She pulled her vest up

And her knickers down,

"All right you’ve seen

Everything now!" deftly

Donning a white nightdress

With a border of flowers

On the collar

"The man puts it inside

The woman," I said, going red.

She replied, "I’ve never let

Anyone see me in the nude before.

I didn't think I’d dare but with

You, I knew it’d be different,

You’d never try anything on."

In the middle of the night

The cats in the binyard woke us,

The whole house silent, we

Were very close, her face

Was next to mine.

She put her finger to her lips,

"Swear you’ll never tell!"

I swore and touched her where

She put my hand:

"One day well get married

And do it for real."
View Barry Tebb:  Poems | Biography | Books

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