About the poet
Hugo Williams (b. 1942) is the son of the actor Hugh Williams and the model and actress Margaret...
Dinner with my Mother
My mother is saying 'Now'.
'Now,' she says, taking down a saucepan,
putting it on the stove.
She doesn't say anything else for a while,
so that time passes slowly, on the simmer,
until it is 'Now' again
as she hammers out our steaks
for Steak Diane.
I have to be on hand at times like this
and general conversational encouragement,
but I am getting hungry
and there is nowhere to sit down.
'Now,' I say, making a point
of opening a bottle of wine.
My mother isn't listening.
She's miles away,
testing the sauce with a spoon,
narrowing her eyes through the steam.
'Now,' she says very slowly, meaning
which is it to be,
the rosemary or the tarragon vinegar
for the salad dressing?
I hold my breath, lest anything
should go wrong at the last minute.
But now it is really 'Now',
our time to sit and eat.
from Collected Poems (Faber & Faber, 2005), copyright © Hugo Williams 2005, used by permission of the author and the publisher.
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