Musings, New Zealand, Poetry

Grandad’s Patch

I remember

A tall figure dressed before sunrise
Black singlet, army shorts and gumboots
Always tail-wagging best mate in tow.

On a morning wet with no rain
Bright without sharpness
Warm on the skin but cold in the nose.

His trusty red tractor, he sits
Separated from soil
Harvesting commenced.

Purple tubers on fertile soil
Propped-up wooden boxes
Soon filled with fresh kumara.

Ready for us by autumn end
Car packed to bursting
Kumaras and free-range kids.

Sunset and curtains drawn
Roasted lamb and kumara
Thank you, Grandad.

Grandad, Nana and Mum – on his return from WW2.
Mum sitting on one of those wooden kumara boxes with the family cat
Photo: NZ Archives – East Coast New Zealand Maori man standing at the entrance of a traditional underground food store (pit) for kumara (sweet potatoes) and potatoes.
Kumara goes magnifically with snapper – Grandad with my brother and I hanging out – early 60s

17 thoughts on “Grandad’s Patch”

  1. Oh, that is a really lovely poem, Suzanne. You should make a book of these family stories and photos.
    Your grandfather was so tall and I see that your mother inherited this trait. Or perhaps it was the kumara?
    The trauma of war is felt across generations. I often wonder how much this contributed to the less than wonderful childhood of so many of us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks very much, Tracy that is very kind that you think I could actually write a book. Hahaha, yes the good carbs and dietary fibre make us tall and strong.
      I would say that the numerous wars have certainly made their mark on our childhoods, how could stress and trauma not make an impact on the men and woman who went away to war. Even now it is still happening though hopefully the return to civilian life isn’t so traumatic for all concerned.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh thanks very much, Eilene, and I love that I am introducing you to new words. The purple kumara has a creamy inner. There are orange varieties and some people have the original Maori kumara which isn’t so marketable for various reasons. Many of the heirloom variations of vegetables or fruit they have been altered to be more consumer attractive.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Janis, our other grandfather who loved bowling was always in trousers and a shirt even when tending his vegetable garden. I think sometimes he used to wear a tie. Always neat and tidy for his bowling games.


    1. Jo, it was when we were visiting Nana and being adventurous around our neighbourhood ๐Ÿ™‚ . No childhood is ever perfect no matter what people may think. It was certainly a very different era.


        1. Too fast and has way too much consumerism. Nana would always keep an interest in what everyone was doing. I am sure she would still be writing letters to Mum and I even in this computer age.


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