Mum’s Wedding Ring
by Margaret Adkins

It was on the hand that held my grandmother
as a baby — and my father as a baby.

It was on the hand that held me
as a baby — and my daughter as a baby.

Ellen Boardman married Thomas Butterworth
on Saturday August 21st 1897 and every day since

(except for five years spent in a drawer
waiting for Mum)

my great-grandmother’s wedding ring
has been worn.

Now it swivels, smooth against mine
woven with Welsh gold

and I can but wonder
if there will be a photograph capturing

honeyed Victorian gold on the hand
cradling a great-great-great-grandchild

of Ellen and Thomas Butterworth.

 PHOTO: Ellen Butterworth, Royton, Lancashire, UK (b1868) and (inset) her wedding ring.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For reasons that the poem explains, Mum’s wedding ring is a possession that I must not lose. It is invaluable to me and yet has no value — as I would never sell it. Originally, it was my paternal great-grandmother’s wedding ring and after her death in 1951, it became my mother’s in 1956. It never had the sentimental value for her that it has for me. I understand that: I would not have welcomed any feelings of obligation to accept a wedding ring that had first belonged to my husband’s grandmother. So I feel sadness for Mum. I know she felt disappointment when she agreed to adopt the ring that meant so much to her mother-in-law. However, I am very grateful for her lack of resistance. It wasn’t until after her death in 2003, when the ring became mine to wear, that I realized its value to me. On my finger, the ring is a “living” part of my family since 1897. It knows five generations. On different fingers it has witnessed the joys and sorrows — the hopes and fears — the truths and secrets of each and almost every day throughout 119  years.

PHOTO(above left): The author on her first birthday held by her mother, with her wedding ring visible.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margaret Adkins is a second-year mature student at Worcester University. After a career in nursing and midwifery, she is now studying for a BA (Hons) degree in Creative Writing and English Literature. She has poetry appearing online at: I am not a silent poet, The Fat Damsel, and Poetica Botanica (in association with Ledbury Poetry Festival 2016).