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Making sense of history in a new home.

That was your cue

Kneegee_croppedby twdhughes04 Mar 2014

Our bedroom, our dining room, kitchen
were once one vaulted snooker room,
and the alcove where we sleep
a recessed dais with chaise longue
for those who were merely
contemplating the game.

French windows from the table
opened to a grand conservatory;
rich plants before the planted garden.
The rose arch, then tree line
behind the garage block,
followed by summerhouse folly
on the knoll.


Lead, oak, granite mosaics and marble,
mahogany where the worm was got and
walnut corners where red ochre sawdust -
like a desiccated Bordeaux brimmed
to times’ palate -
reams rich with frass.

Tall drinks
on the console table
all afternoon,
waiting for something
at the end of the Twenties. Ten
years since war; ten years to war.


These were cues
we could not take up,
cues which were the playthings
of rich farmers,
this house given as a wedding gift,
gift for a daughter,

from landed family
who lived in the castle
built for Shelley’s grandfather.
Crenellations waited ready
two centuries ago
for his return from the Grand Tour.


Drownings in the Serpentine,
unforwarded letters;
sails gone under.

Yesterday I emptied
the cellar of chemicals;
down the staircase cast the wine.

When I returned, the room
was filling with water to
waist height and above;

a single fish
flopped on the rack,
muscles trilling.