Archive for February 6th, 2019

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Plumbers by Ursula Wyllie Roberts (Susan Miles)

I knew that in winter it would snow,
For my brother had told me.
I knew that snow was white
And soft
And altogether wonderful;
But how white and soft and wonderful
I did not know,
Being too young to remember
One day snow fell;
And the garden
Was a new garden;
The trees were new trees.
There were icicles.
I marvelled that my brother
Had forgotten to tell me
That there would be icicles.
How could a child see icicles
And not remember?
Or frost on wire-netting,
And not tell?
I was happier than on my birthday;
I was happier than on Christmas morning.
‘Selfish little pig,’
Said Nurse.
‘You don’t think of the poor plumbers;
Nor you don’t think of their poor children.
No breakfast for them, poor lambs!
No nice porridge,
No bacon fat;
Not when the poor plumbers
Can’t work
On account of the frost.
No fun in the snow.
Not for them.
They wouldn’t have the heart.
No more would you have the heart,
Not without you were a selfish little pig.’
And my bacon fat choked me,
Because of the bitter knowledge
That one couldn’t love icicles
Nor frost on wire-netting,
Because of people called plumbers:
—Not without one was a selfish
Little pig.

From: Miles, Susan (ed.), Childhood in Verse and Prose: An Anthology, 1923, Oxford University Press: Oxford, pp. 301-302.

Date: 1918

By: Ursula Wyllie Roberts (Susan Miles) (1887-1975)