In a later book of Gary's poetry, Jesus the Galilee Hitchhiker, there is an update on this poem relating to the death of his grandmother:
She outlived most of her children, or did she,
guardian of the first door,
as though this in itself was an adventure?
Each generation locked dentures,
marching side by side without a dream,
love becoming an empty section,
houses like people falling down,
too spare to escort the vacuum to another room.
She received a telegram from the Queen,
scorer of a maiden test century,
calling out in the night
which blew and grew underneath her eyelids,
given out by the Umpire of death,
old lady before wicket,
ordered to the far away pavilion,
exactly a run to the day
he tried to order me out,
head hit by wicket,
it's so poor when people argue,
I'll be back, I always win,
no matter how many times you slip through my fingers.
She was clutching a silver brooch
with MOTHER cut into it in gold,
calling for a man given out years ago,
he was offered a drink, that was enough,
the finger went up, he went down,
glass in hand, drunk before wicket.
She was never a drinker, took longer to sink her.
When she walked she walked hand in hand,
thinking of a younger man, a forgotten name,
and she was a young woman,
held in the loving arms of long ago.
Article © Mark Pirie 2011
Post-script: Gary Langford writes: "Ginninderra Press, Adelaide, Australia, just did The Family Album this year too, which is my final sequence of my family poetry books: The Family (yes, Fragments Press did a beautiful job on that one), Four Ships and The Family Album which covers the period from those 2 books till now. Comic seriousness. Just as my novel Newlands was for my homeland, and why I wrote it. I have just written a sonnet called 'Percy's War' as I found my uncle's gravestone (he died when he came off a motorbike at 20, and is a chapter in Newlands) earlier this month. It was in a field and needed searching among the sheep who baa-ed at the idea of 'Percy's War' - not in our paddock, thank you. The Family Album is notable for using 3 of my paintings."
Thanks Gary, and for permission to reproduce the poems.