She kept the corner shop
somewhere to stop
between my home and school.
Jar upon jar of home made sweets
all kinds of treats
(my favourite: frogs' spawn and -
but I forget now what came after "and":
it maybe just as well)
for boys who had no taste at all
but free of rationing,
no coupons needed -
what matter if they melted in your mouth like paste?
What went into them, well,
only Heaven would have known -
and kept the secret like the world depended on it.
She was our heroine -
for that was long before
they made it non-PC to use the feminine.
At first her name was Gloria.
Glorrrrria, I'd call it,
rolling the r round on my tongue,
trying versions and extensions for effect.
Trying anything that came to mind:
like Glory, Glorious and glorify.
They all, along with Gloria itself, I learned,
were from the liturgy.
Soon, though, she mentioned to my dad one day
she never could stand sun,
she'd rather have the bombs than sunshine any day.
And after that her name was changed.
Sunshine and Bombs we called her then.
The name caught on.
Some thought that she must be a Fascist,
some, just a nutty tart,
others thought she might be sick - have caught
a tropical disease -
and needed to avoid the sun.
She had a counter, very small, in a dark corner,
with loads of stuff for witchery,
black magic and the like.
Some said the sweets came from her spells.
My Gran said not to buy them,
for she made them in her bathroom
and stored them underneath her bed - although
she'd say the same
of Elderado when he peddled his ice cream.
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