Sunday, 24 February 2019

Chawton Revisited



 Satin slippers

Dear Reader,

There were hopes that something interesting, or even an intimate secret, would be revealed when six lines of a note, recently unearthed, were written by Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra.  But in fact the findings were very mundane.  Writing to her brother Henry she says "I have given Mde B my Inventory of the linen, and added 2 round towels to it".  Part of Jane Austen's charm was her domesticity, making small trivial observations into an art.

For my part there is nothing nicer than ironing in the kitchen, the sheets and the shirts piling up whilst listening to a play on Radio 4 (especially if it is raining).  I always enjoy tidying my drawers whilst thinking of a new poem, or even plumping up the cushions, ready to sink into.  I like washing the kitchen floor and seeing it shine, and re-arranging everything in the fridge gives me great satisfaction.  When all is order in the house, all is well with me.   Jane Austen was a wise woman indeed.

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Chawton Revisited

Do you remember Chawton, Jill,
forty years ago,
discussing Emma, Miss Bates, Fanny?
Do you remember
our mutual dislike of Aunt Norris
and her devious ways?

Do you remember the sitting-room, Jill,
with the round writing table
small, mirror-polished,
set in a garden-view window, or
the satin slippers tied with a ribbon,
the lace collars
embroidered by hand?

Do you remember the walk
to the church in the afternoon cool?
We sat on a bench in the late summer sun,
and mused on her death,
wondering why did she die, so young.

Do you remember Chawton, Jill?

Alone, alive, having tea in the tea room,
I feel you here with me still.


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With very best wishes, Patricia

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful poem! Hope you are enjoying domestic bliss and this wonderful springlike weather. MX