Cloud Soup book cover
Created: 9th May, 2022

Grandma and the Sea

One winter, my grandma wasn’t very well

and I ended up staying with her for Christmas.


Just me and Grandma.


I knew she wouldn’t be here much longer.

Her back crackled with pain

and her thoughts had loosened like the strands of

wool in a well-worn scarf.


Christmas Day came and it was a cold day.

A grey-washed,

iron-toothed sort of day.


We were pretty miserable.


Now, my grandma lived by the sea

but she couldn’t get to the beach any more.


And I can’t remember if it was me or Grandma

who cooked it up,

but we agreed I should go for a swim.


We would give this cold grey Christmas Day

a run for its money.


So, I made my way to beach,

just me,

and I stamped on into the water.


And by heck it was cold.

A huge, wild cold

that hit me like a bus.


The water tumbled and roared,

and anger flew round me:

that my grandma might not live much more,

that she now found her days

too long,

too short.


And then,

just as fast,

the crash of that mad grey sea

walloped me to gladness,

for her kindness and quickness,

for her fierceness,

for all the time we’d had.


And I came home and told my grandma

I’d done it,

I’d swum in that stupidly cold water

and she grinned,

her cheeks beaming pink with mine.


And now my grandma

isn’t here anymore.


And it’s sad.


But when I’m near a cold sea

I make sure to think of her.


I think about the glitter and sting of salt water.


And I swim in it.



© Kate Wakeling, from Cloud Soup, The Emma Press, 2021


Kate Wakeling - Grandma and the Sea



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