A Coalminer's daughter born in Hednesford

 A Poem for Nan’s Funeral

 All I know about you Nan

Is you were born Elsie Brothwood

So long ago in a different era

Where Pride & Prejudice took place

And human folly was a disgrace.

In your case, there was a secret and

Travelling to Birmingham for a new life

You met your match in our Grand-dad – Albert,

Champion games player who even

Disabled with Parkinson cheered us kids with Cribbage

And Draughts, whilst donned with apron

You cooked a wholesome dinner.

All I know is Elsie Higgins was married to Albert

For the best, the worst and the ordinary.

I looked up to you as a solid, secure woman who role-modelled

Nurturing values; keeping the hearth warm, clean

And tea-pot cosie and freshly brewed,

Someone I could turn to always.

You knew what was needed to fix childhood traumas,

Took me along to respite to Broadstairs and

Margate with Auntie Nellie,

Beer and Bingo with jovial company

Filled your Midland soul ,

With rejuvenating bonhomie.

All I know Nan, was you survived a short Death

To see your grandchildren grow up, have babes

Of their own, and you coped with separations

And reckless behaviours as best as

Any Matriarch knew how, considering,

Naturally the mistakes of your own.

But all I know is, I could make you laugh

With a bit of tomfoolery and a silly grin,

A touch of the outlandish spirit within, like

Singing ‘I’ve got a loverly bunch of coconuts’

To a cherubic hymn!

I tell my own children who are designing their way

In life now, that Great Nanny Higgins was a young girls

Hero; She struggled with all the issues and dilemmas,

Was a working mother, bringing up healthy and strong

Kids for the future of Nations.

Here in Australia we held great respect

For our grandmother; She was wise, she was good,

Even though we were aware of her faults.

Nan, all I know was you were there when

I needed you most. That is all that mattered to me

Now you have given up the ghost.

I’ve missed you,

I’ve loved you,

I thank you for your blessings

And pray that the sorrows you left behind

Are swept away with forgiveness in mind.


love Julie McNeill(nee Higgins)

Queensland, Australia April 5th, 2005

for Elsie Higgins(nee Brothwood)





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s