Tuesday Poem: Baba Marta Day

1st of March is Baba Marta  (Grandmother March) Day in some areas of eastern Europe.  It's a day set aside to honour grandmothers.  So I thought I'd post the poem I wrote about my favourite grandmother.  She was a wonderful person, but very superstitious.  When we were about eleven or twelve we used to have great fun playing the Weedja board with her and she claimed to be able to see spirits and auras and to have second sight.  She taught me to read palms - which I do for fun, though I don't believe in it at all.


For Annie Sutherland

She kept a broom behind the door
to sweep away unwanted guests
and sprinkled spilt salt over
her left shoulder for the Devil,

avoided the green coat
bought before her husband died,
touched wood and counted magpies —
one for sorrow, two for joy.

White heather on the mantlepiece,
May blossom always outside
red and white flowers never
in the same vase or someone died
before the moon waned.

Two teaspoons on a saucer,
tripping upstairs meant
something borrowed, something blue —
but never marry in black
or wish yourself back.

The year the clock stopped
and she put her own foot first
through the door on New Year's Eve
she knew would bring the black-haired man
with owls' feathers in his pockets
to steal her soul.

© Kathleen Jones

For more Tuesday Poems please go to http://www.tuesdaypoem.blogspot.com/


  1. I love the idea of setting aside a day for Grandmas.
    And it's a great poem, the way the end really does seem to be tempting a superstitious fate that could be good or bad :) is really fun.

    P.S. apparently some people really can see auras - but that doesn't necessarily mean they are there. According to modern science :)it's got something to do with the way their brain emotionally sees the person -- it's almost like a crossed senses thing. Hope this doesn't ruin the mystery.

  2. Your grandmother sounds like a great person. There are some fascinating superstitions in there, love the man in black with owl's feathers in his pockets.

  3. Lovely, she sounds wonderful.

    My grandma (who grew up in rural Warwickshire) had similar superstitions. Interestingly she always maintained that black cats and the number 13 were good luck for our family.

  4. wonderful grouping of superstitions. I wish I'd had a grandmother who used a Weedja board...

  5. Thanks for your comments everyone - my grandmother was such fun. She was still dancing at parties well into her 80s.
    and yes, I think grandparents have an important role to play in families and we should have a day that celebrates them!


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