La Marseillaise

 

My dead fathered wandered from his bed

complaining of the cold.

His bed, too empty,

needed my mother for warmth.

I told him, then, return to your bed,

warm it ready for her.

 

My mother had fallen down.

I lifted her, naked, onto the marriage bed

and ran through the dark night house

seeking her fresh cotton gown.

 

Children ran through the corridors,

laughing, hiding and seeking,

when they should have been sleeping,

but I let them play

 

When the blackbird sang in the morning

we went out to feed the horses,

the beautiful, lovely horses,

their warm breath steamed in the air

as the night watchman strolled away.

 

The courtyards smelled of new-mown hay

in this city of ancient archways.

The theatre people were waking up

and lighting breakfast fires.

In the hall, behind closed doors,

the band tuned up to play.

They played La Marseillaise.

 

I walked through the city that morning.

I smiled to myself, at the gift of imagination,

and the comfort it always brings,

as the starlings deafened my ears.

 

 

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