I was an only child. My memories of my mother (Alice Mallinson) seem to fall into two periods, before wartime evacuation to the U.S. in June 1940 and after my return to England in June 1944. In the first period, as an only child, I was very close to her: later, though very fond and certainly dutiful, I felt less close. She was a warm and intelligent woman, wholly centred on my father and myself, having been brought up in difficult circumstances, with a feckless drunken father and a weak mother. My strongest feelings about my mother, perhaps disappointingly, are about an old woman, in her nineties; and these are the feelings caught in these poems, written in the time leading up to her death, aged almost ninety-seven, and soon afterwards.