Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Time After Time

A recent blogpost by a dear friend, about how the pattern of her life has changed over the years, reminded me of a poem by the wonderful, warm, and witty, late great Joyce Grenfell. JG was a brilliant writer, raconteur, performer and actor. Many will remember her as the hapless WPC Ruby Gates in the original proper St Trinians films. Others think of her 'nursery teacher' monologues [George, don't do that!] She was a woman who had a deep faith, combined with a great sense of fun. 
This is her poem "Time". Written for a generation that knew nothing of feminism, where a wife probably gave up work on marriage - or at least once babies came along. And so there is no verse about online shopping, Slimming World, saving the planet or blogging, blogging, blogging...[and she does jump alarmingly from 'young' straight to 'elderly' !]
But the poem is a gentle reminder of how we can so easily waste time, forget to enjoy time, or take time to stop and think...and I love her ending
...there is just this minute, and I am in it thank the Lord!
Right now I have slightly less time than usual- I have just started a new part-time job. More on that later. But I am grateful for the busy-ness, and the opportunity to teach regularly. 
I hope you enjoy the poem as much as I do

When I was a girl there was always time,
There was always time to spare.
There was always time to sit in the sun;
And we were never done
With lazing and flirting,
And doing our embroidery,
And keeping up our memory books,
And brushing our hair,
And writing little notes,
And going on picnics,
And dancing, dancing, dancing, dancing--
When I was a girl there was always time to waste.
Thank the Lord.

When I was a young woman there was always time,
There was always time to spare.
There was always time to walk in the sun,
And we were never done
With going to weddings,
Our own and our friends',
And going to parties,
Away at weekends,
And having our children
And bringing them up,
And talking, talking, talking, talking--
When I was a young woman there was always time to enjoy things.
Thank the Lord.

And when I was an elderly woman there was no more time,
There was no more time to spare.
There was no more time to sit in the sun,
For we were never done
With answering the telephone,
And looking at the TV,
And doing baby-sitting,
And talking to our friends,
And shopping, shopping, shopping, shopping,
And washing-up, washing-up, washing-up,
Writing letters, writing letters
Rushing, rushing, rushing,
And we were always hurried,
And we were never bored.
When I was an elderly woman
There was never time to think.
Thank the Lord.

But now I'm an old old woman,
So I want the last word:
There is no such thing as time--
Only this very minute
And I'm in it.
Thank the Lord.


  1. Thank you for so many memories.
    Have a nice day Angela.
    Hazel c uk

  2. I have never heard of this person or this poem but it is poignant and makes you very thoughtful -- thank you for sharing!

  3. B-B you should check her out. A very English lady, but I believe her mother was American and her aunt was Nancy Astor.

  4. She got it spot-on with the 'elderly' lady description!!


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