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
go tidy it away under Edwardian–
put the clock forward once more,
tend your lively buds
while they still bloom in your garden.