My Grandmother by Elizabeth Jennings
The poem recounts a childhood memory of the poet’s grandmother.Jennings uses her grandmother’s life to portray themes such as loneliness,guilt and the passing of time.The first and third stanza ae written in the third person,describing the grandmother and her relations with the shop.However the second and fourth are written in the first person,describing the author’s memories and the relationship between them, while she was alive and after she died.
Throughout the poem,the poet emphasize the loneliness and the absence of love in her grandmother’s life-the antique shop reflects her character and her life.The words “it kept her” suggest that it seems to the speaker,her only reason for living.Her concern is with the surface appearance(“polish was all”),not with deep human feelings(“there is no need of love”).
The poet lists the objects that were found in the shop like they are friends of her grandmother.”Apostle spoons” and “Bristol glass” are the most obvious because they are both collectables and are treasured by antique lovers-these she lives “among”,not people.
The author also uses phrases such as “faded silks” and ”heavy furniture”,which could have been describing her grandmother,who in a way fades in with the objects which were once new and belonged to someone.Her loneliness is suggested in the fact that it is only “her own reflection” she sees reflected in the antiques.
The third stanza is about her getting too old to look after the antique shop and therefore all the staff were moved in a room and there was nothing then to give “her own reflection back again”.
The final stanza talks about when she died and what was left of her antiques and the memories that were leftnof her in the room where all her things were-“sideboards and cupboards”.