My very own grandfather, the poet. Show ‘em how it’s done, Grandpa…
‘The Escalator’s Wrath’ by Eric Osborne
Aunt Jane came up from Ambleside to pay her annual visit
I met her train and brightly cried “You’re looking fine, just like a bride,
It’s not so chilly is it?”
Aunt Jane is 90 if a day and travels only yearly;
She comes to London to be gay and ever wants to stay and stay
And this year she came early.
I’ve always met her with a car but this year it had broken
Down; seized up, and with a sudden jar,
Stopped; sank into some sticky tar –
I left it as a token
For others to read, mark and know as I toiled on in buses.
I told Aunt Jane we’d go below incase it should come on to snow,
For I know how she fusses.
“Young man” she said “we’ll take a fly”
I stammered, “can’t afford it”
At which she brandished brolley high, de-hatted one poor passer-by
And blatantly ignored it,
But meekly followed me below for she too had no money.
I bought tickets with my dough,
She cackled in the lift as though
I had done something funny.
Now at the other end were stairs – a fact I had forgotten,
For if there is one thing that scares
Old ladies, it is moving stairs,
Our prospects savoured rotten.
Aunt Jane gave one unhappy look and sadly shook her head,
Then thrust her brolley, bag and book
Into my arms and bravely took
One mighty plunge ahead.
By some strange means she got a grip,
I stood and watched, aghast.
But suddenly I saw her trip
And step by step begin to slip
And then start rolling fast.
She’ll stay no more will dear Aunt Jane,
That escalator dropped her.
She rolled right on beneath a train
Which decomposed her active brain
But which, however, stopped her.
Here lies Aunt Jane, beneath this mound
Deceased when ninety-one
On a moving stair in the Underground
Down which she fell, and round and round
Until she died, she spun.
(A ‘fly’ was a horse carriage, like a taxi.)