Pissabed – Pen Kease

Pissabed [1]

They’d said not to pick those dandelions –
but she did. A tiny bunch tied up
with daisies, buttercups and string,
a bright reminder of his garden days
among weeds and roses, carrots and bees.

Today, wreaths and crosses are laid,
a coffin lurches on big boys’ shoulders.

Never pick pissabed, it brings bad luck –
she knows that now – awake and small, squashed
under blankets, coats on top, between
big sisters, in the middle, in a panic –
pants, vest, petticoat, black wool stockings soaked.

When the big ones leave for the factory,
she’ll dress. Make tea. No school. Again.


[1]  The folk name given to the dandelion. Children were often told that if you picked it, you would wet the bed. It does however, have diuretic qualities.

Pen Kease holds an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick. She is currently interested in family myth and 20th century social history, some of which is reflected in her poems. Currently, her hair is pink.