Walls in White Cotton are witnessing
A slow and measured waltz
She knows, my grandmother
Shelves of conscientious buys,
To a whole and icing sugar-dusted life
Bone china serene in
smooth Swedish cupboards
Before it all went South.
One giant thud that did not extinguish her light.
How could it, when from all those sewing machines,
hotels she front (and back) of housed,
bold blue bibles, torahs, the book of proverbs robed in their spines,
A duster draped, covers
hairspray in golden, seventies can,
Five kinds of clingfilm
To wrap is to preserve she said,
Besides which she could afford the luxury
Too late, though, to protect the child who toiled
With trays of steaming bread from
East end bakery,
Crisp coins for a frowning mother’s hand.
Six of everything she has –
My grandmother –
As though excess ever cancelled loss.
Now she looks upon her garden
Still in her chair
Eighteen to the dozen, a hundred fine-boned words a minute
Knit one purl one, You’re lovely darling, (did I not know?)
In her chair
The sigh, the closing of lids
A grip on all this – with worked-out hands,
Holding it’s age old thrill.