Lady of the Manor


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You always greeted us at the tradesmen’s entrance,

like the local fishmonger go-between

or the Stilton man,

who sold mouldy cheese to your mother,

the front door and porch reserved

for your motley collection of lovers and perhaps

the reverend, who’s really after your fair trade coffee

but has to listen to an endless saga

about roof repairs.

We are ranked lower than the slow-worms

wriggling beneath your lawn, blissfully unaware–

while the ghost of your dear father,

reduced to cloth ears,

his morning coat frosted with dust of ages,

still hanging on the kitchen door,

turns a cold shoulder.

We have all suffered you–

your endless complaints, prevarications and woes,

worn like a tiara of thorns.

And those young voices in the background,

chiming in like a merry-go-round–

they are not there merely

to shore up faded memories enshrined

in an old school bookplate,

or make do and mend your own

frayed childhood–

go tidy it away under Edwardian–

put the clock forward once more,

tend your lively buds

while they still bloom in your garden.


Lady of the Manor

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