HEREWARD HAWKINS
by
Lesley Gordon

Now Uncles are a handy lot,
However many you have got
Whether it's two or three or four,
There's always room for several more
They like to take you to the Zoo,
And sometimes to the pictures too
They think of jolly decent games
And never call you fancy names
Like 'Kiddies', 'Pets', and 'Little Dears'
And never look behind your ears.

And Grandpas are a decent crew,
Although I'm glad I've only two
They'll tell you tales of sailing ships,
And grow you trees from orange pips
And, sometimes, in the garden shed,
With chips of wood and scraps of lead
And nails, and screws and bits of string
They'll make you almost anything
And though they make you brush your hair
And tell you it is rude to stare
They're rather decent, you'll agree,
But two are quite enough for me.

A thing all Grandmas hate to do,
It makes them in a frightful stew
But if you listen when they speak,
And never bellow, shout or shriek
And always offer them a seat,
Then Grandmas can be rather sweet.

But Aunts - It simply staggers me
However anyone can see
The point of having Aunts, and yet,
We most of us have got a set
Now Aunties are a different kind,
And Aunties no one ought to mind
For Aunties can play games and run
And always know what isn't done
But if you chance an Aunt to meet,
She's sure to kiss you in the street
Or if she takes you out to tea,
She'll sit where everyone can see
Wearing a simply frightful hat,
And talk about exams and that
She'll tell you that you're dropping crumbs
And ask you if you've done your sums
And say she thinks it's sure to rain
And have you read 'The Daisy Chain.'
When out with Aunts I think it's quite
Impossible to be polite
Yet Hereward, a chap I knew,
Had twenty-one or twenty-two
Or may be it was twenty-three
And treated each with courtesy
He'd listen to what each one said,
And even let them pat his head
He'd wear the bedsocks they would knit
And say they were a perfect fit
At Auntie jokes he always laughed,
He'd ask them if they felt a draft
Protect them from all jolts and jerks
And read aloud from standard works
And Aunts upon the Hawkins side
Would mention Hereward with pride
They'd tell their friends
'A Hawkins to his finger-ends'
And Hereward's maternal Aunts
Would prophesy his sure advance
'No knowing what the boy may do.
A Higginbotham through and through.'
(For that, perhaps I should explain,
Was Hawkins' mother's maiden name).

And when he rose to man's estate,
His Aunts by then reduced to eight
People acknowledged him to be
A pillar of society
He sat on boards, they made him Mayor,
His name was mentioned everywhere
And when he opened wards and wings
And laid foundation stones and things
And opportunity occurred
He'd thank them in a modest word
And say with his engaging air
How nice it was to be a Mayor
Attributing his swift advance
To having been polite to Aunts
But then, I mentioned this before,
He started out with twenty-four!

The end