Prim Victorian (Mary-Anne)

prim, Victorian, grim-lipped
in black cotton and lace
such a face
made of stone and ice
but her dark, lustrous eyes
burn with such heat

intense,
wandering feet

rebellious daughter
of a Methodist minister
preaching an older tradition
burnt in witch-fire
for generations

they line up behind her,
the warrior peasants,
exploited,
delighting in word play,
aware of their ancient glories
and treasuring stories
passed down the line,
tongue to ear
ear to tongue
repeating

returned from the snows of Alaska
frost-bitten, exhausted,
helped there,
by like-minded peoples,
she returned to a British hearth
to sit in the corner
just as she sits now,
very still,
rarely speaking,
captured and framed,
staring at me through a lens

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