Sunday, 20 September 2015

The House




Dear Reader,

I wonder if you have ever had a strange, rather sad feeling when you entered a house, or a building of some sort, or even on a country walk. Something you see or feel brings back memories and you are not sure why. But I think they must be something to do with childhood, something perhaps that upset you or touched you but that you didn't dwell on at the time. And in this particular place the feelings return.  I felt like this when I went to lunch with a neighbour in the small market town I live in.
This is the poem I wrote when I went home.

The House

Was it the sound of Chopin
filling the street air,
escaping from a large keyhole
in the weathered front door,
or the first glimpse of pale
stone flooring and a rocking horse
in the hall corner, or was it the
Easter lilies rising tall out of
white enamel jugs, and books
everywhere, everywhere?

Was it the ancient dog
in front of a small log fire,
protected by a staunch Victorian fireguard,
or the scrubbed table and gentian-blue
hyacinths peeking out of a copper bowl,
Rockingham pottery plates
each one different,
or the sculpture of an unknown woman
young, rounded smooth,
placed lovingly on a window shelf
catching a flicker of the January sun?

Or was it the smell of beef stew,
a nursery smell dredged from childhood,
or the sight of home-grown pears
floating in sugared juice?
Or was it the feeling of safety,
warmth and love
everywhere, everywhere,
that overwhelmed me?

                    *

A muse this week....

I have been thinking of stamina, The Queen, and myself.  The Queen has now been on the throne for sixty three years and, in her photographs, I think she looks marvellous.  And she is 89.  But what astounds me is her incredible constitution.  She never seems to have a cold or get ill like the rest of us, and I often think of her on that boat, going down the river Thames last year, standing in the cold and wet for four hours without so much as a cardigan round her shoulders. And then all those engagements she has to perform: astonishing.  So I conclude she must be made of quite different stuff, a better material,  to me,  who gets tired shopping,  going for a short walk in the afternoon, and cooking the supper. 
And I am only 75.

Very best wishes, Patricia

No comments: