Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Grandmother's House

I could take you to a house
Tall as a ship on the hillside
With red gables
And seagulls crying in the sky above

And we could enter by the side
Through a door that's never locked
To a kitchen, big with laughter
With a stove that's always lit
And a kettle on the hob

I could take you through the hall, muffled in deep carpet

There would be a fire in the grate
And faded satin cushions on the chairs,
Brocaded curtains
And treasures on the shelf:
A cardboard cut-out boat, a plastic dancer
An egg cup, present from the china shop
Remembered childhoods

We would climb the stairs and find
The bedroom with its high black bed
Where winter gales rattle dead fingers on the panes
In the darkness
And seem to rock the walls
to the sounds of distant waves.

But no -
The building stands
Not quite so tall upon the hill
But all the rest
Is gone
Like the ripples on a pond
After a leaf has fallen

This poem was written in October 1987, twenty years ago now, just after my grandmother died. I found it in a box when looking for poems to read in our poetry gathering this morning


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