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Poem: In Memory of Claire Diane Andrews

Claire and Margie s

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Photo: Claire and Margie after a great Souvlaki dinner at their favourite Greek restaurant on the Danforth in Toronto

January 4, 2014

In Memory of Claire Diane Andrews – My Friend for Sixty–Four Years

We were born into

War years that censored  

Rights to childhood,

Life became an exercise 

Of waiting for faraway heroes

To come home.

Still, as children do,

We found glories  

On narrow east-end streets

Lined with identical,

Single parent houses

Row upon row.


You and I raced along

Ribbon straight pavements

Chanting, “Step on a crack

Break your Granny’s back.”

To new streets

Where Chestnut trees

Bore fall crops;   

Forbidden brown nuts,

Pretend milk chocolate centres.

Their branches a hiding place 

From Bully boys

Swaggering, swinging

Chestnut Conkers to terrify us;

The little people.


At Dusk, we skipped home

To the comfort of our

One window bedrooms

Off railroad-coach     

Hallways that gave us

Adjoining walls to press

Our ears against and hear    

Distorted sounds of bitterness

From the family next door.


We grew into good narrators,

Shared our opinions,

Each morning as we

Scurried to school before

The bell called us to

Another day of sitting

Stiff and straight at

Wooden desks longing for

Recess to bolt outside,  

Run helter-skelter to

Schoolyard battlefields

As we lined up to chant,  

“Red Rover, Red Rover.”


A restless time came,

Tempted us with different

Paths to travel yet,     

We preserved our stories

To recite each time we met

Because we trusted,

As children do,

This reward of looking back

To the perfection of those moments

Between us, so ever valued.


Requiescat in pacem, Claire

About the Author(s)

Margie Philip

Margie Philip is an emerging poet who honours the memory of loved ones by using her poems as an expression of remembrance.

3 Responses to "Poem: In Memory of Claire Diane Andrews"

  • Margo 12:51 AM 17/1/2014

    What a poignant kaleidoscope of memories–so many years, so many times.
    How sad the end of a 64-year conversation; how fortunate to have had a friend who loved so well, who could write such a heartfelt tribute. R.I.P. Claire.

  • George 02:00 AM 17/1/2014

    Margaret, that touched my heart.
    Thank Margo for pointing this to me.
    Miss you!

  • Joan 02:38 PM 17/1/2014

    Lovely tribute Margaret, it has such a nice flow to it between conkers and red rovers.
    All the best, Joan via Margo

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