Photo by Simon Godfrey on Unsplash
Manor Farm, Gotherington
The walls stooped Under the weight of age. Windows frowned From gables Out towards Wicked, old, Cleeve hill. At the front, a cote, Devoid of dove and egg, Stood sentry and I, a child Inside its bell, Hushed by such anatomy, Wondering at The innards of the past. In one barn, an old Gig, crippled and wheelless Carried no one to prayer now. I remember To the side, a pond, Rich of reed and birds Translating the summer Into song. Then recall My father talking of the coracle That used to teacup him to the Other side While older boys, in France now, Not their village, left Mothers for the mud. All this memory arrives In response to a photograph Of my great aunt, A thin-tendrilled beauty In black velvet and fox fur Walking up the drive Into her widowhood.
On Establishing What Death Means to Cats
This is our cat, all collected up, Cushion plump, on the Silver Salver given to My grandfather on his marriage, To ‘the iron fist in a velvet glove.’ The cat reflected in the half polished Mappin and Webb tray Knows that she has transgressed And feels all the better for it By the look of her. Although she rules softly in her old age. On the reverse of the wedding gift Everlasting signatures, From shipmates – some posh, some mundane – all gone To Davey Jones’s locker or the cancer ward. Jack, the groom, was indeed a sailor Though I only knew him when in port, Waiting patiently for death To decommission him. His last words were ‘I’m sorry to keep you waiting.’ But before then we would read of ‘Alan Quartermaine’ and ‘The Mountains of the Moon’. Cat’s cannot wait for anything, Not even death, of which they Know nothing, always assuming There is nothing to know. They put my grandfather In a box; I hope it smelt to him Like the Cedars of Lebanon.