We visited your shop every week
For cheeses and Polish sausage.
You made much of me
Gave me nibbles of cheese
Reached over the counter
To pat my head
And fill my hands with bonbons.
You were magical and foreign like me
The child with oval eyes
And Yiddish-speaking family.
Great-Granny came from Poland
We had a secret bond.
I didn't know of your sufferings
Under first the Nazis, then Stalin
Or why you and your compatriots
Lived in Nissen huts on Sandy Lane
Outside Melton Mowbray.
For a child in the aftermath of war
The Polish camp was a part of my world
Perplexing, but simply there.
I went with my mother to sing carols
And cheer up elderly residents.
Your life was marked by tragedy and displacement
So many stories untold
Deemed not fit for children's ears.
I hope my weekly visits
Brought you joy.
Fragments are all I know of you
But I will not forget.