When The King Measured His Bathwater by Sheila Jacob

Britain was at war with Germany
and all I knew  about the Home Front
came from history books at school.

Weren’t you afraid of being bombed?
I asked my Mum.
No, she shrugged, we just kept going,
went to work as usual.                                                  

What about food rations,
weren’t you hungry?
We never went short, she boasted,
our Mom could make a meal
out of anything.

The King measured his bathwater,
I swanked.
Hmm, I dare say he did,
she sighed, unimpressed.

Every Friday night
she heated water
from the kitchen boiler,
heaved pail after pail upstairs
for my weekly bath.
Dad had T.B.,
struggled for breath
if he lifted or carried.

When she finally moved house
aged eighty-two, accepted
a sheltered flat
with central heating
and running hot&cold
I coveted her power-shower.

She shook her head, nervous
of the jet, preferred a basin
or plastic bowl.

Anyway, she pondered
it doesn’t seem right,
 wasting so much water.

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