Juniper’s mum remembered that she had written a poem about Thomas Hardy some years ago. Her daughter’s literary outburst and foray into lit crit from the previous day provoked her into looking for her old exercise book from the 1990s, in which she had scribbled some thoughts to keep her sane when Juniper and John were evil toddlers. She found it in the desk drawer, re-read it and thought that she might share it shyly with me. Over a coffee in Costamuchamoulah she brought it out of her designer handbag and asked me what I thought of it. I said that it would interest some of my followers, so could I share it with you? Here it is:
Emma’s hands sweep over ivory keys,
mimicking ill winds from Conquer Barrow.
He fiddles while Mrs Patrick Campbell
zephyrs in muslin through the drawing room,
admired by Virginia Woolf, Sassoon,
yet creating one more annoying draught.
Curtains twitch as if Snowdove will appear
miraculously from the railway line.
Florence sighs, surrounded by those dark pines.
She clears her throat with some difficulty.
Upstairs the little old wood table creaks
and the calendar is set: 7th March-
the date Emma came riding towards him.
Violets from Keats’ grave fade behind the glass
of his pillbox. Wessex whines in the hall
as the Prince of Wales throws his waistcoat down.
Nut Walk’s carpet of wood anenomes
is curiously flattened in places.
The maid says truthfully, He’s not at home,
as the door in the wall noiselessly shuts.