Story 6Button 6



With the men back from the war
the women of Wycombe work from home,
and when we visit, Auntie shows us
the packs of card and cotton,
the boxes of buttons to sort.

There are pearl for ladies dresses,        
white or brown for working shirts,
gold ones that remind you of the military,               
Although we’ve seen enough
of those love, those won’t sell.”

For all the post-war babies,
there are tiny pastel ones        
to count out in sixes, sew on the cards
in two straight rows of three.
Others are counted out in fours,
sewn on like corners of a square.

The fives have the odd one in the middle
and some cards just two large buttons,
top and tail.  Those are for the ‘Swagger’ coats,
All the rage now
but only three-quarter length,
they’ll never keep your knees warm.”

And as she talks, encouraging us
to count out the buttons and separate
by colour, she butters bread
and slices cucumber for sandwiches
“Just like the ones the Queen has for her tea!”





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