Gave birth
in a bomb shelter
in World War II
after the sirens sounded;
ran a hostel in London
after her husband died;
played Scrabble each week
with her grandson
after his mother left his dad;
welcomed us all
with a cheerful kindness
that turned tuna sandwiches
into a feast;
only let sadness
slip to the surface once
when she told us
how she visited an old friend
for the last time;
the sort of woman
on whose shoulders
you could build an empire.

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