Student Spotlight: An Ode to Nanny Shiela

Image Credit: Laoise Tarrant

An Ode to Nanny Shiela

A warm cuppa, gingernut biscuits, 

The telly buzzing on, but us only paying attention to it every so often while we had the chats.

St Stephen's day dinner, and the promises of ice cream and a can if I ate the full plate. A sly handshake with a few pounds in your palm before I left for home.

The feeling of warmth you gave with your hugs, 

Your laugh and your jokes made everyone feel at home.

Even hundreds of miles from mine

I always felt at peace in the bungalow.

Crisp sandwiches, all the tea you could want, 

You were up and ready before you even realised you were hungry, telling me, barely able to keep a straight face, if I didn't eat all my lunch you'd tell my mam on me, cracking up straight after.

Your eyes lit up when I learned Danny Boy on guitar, you'd tap your leg to the tune and sing along. When you couldn't knit and heard I was learning, you handed me a bag of needles and showed me a jumper you knit for grandad ...made of pure aran and love…and with every stitch I knit I think of you.

You'd ask about everything...the books I was reading, what I was making, how the family was down south… falling asleep with Sneak by your side, although you always did want us to call her pus-pus. Purring by your side for hours.

In the winter of your life you may not have remembered me, but it's all of us here that will remember you, and have you live on through us. 

For you the pipes were done calling, you must have had to go, while we are left to bide.