Our house (a letter to my grandfather)

I went to the old house today. For you it was the last house.
I went down into the kitchen garden. It was a tangle, overgrown, and gone to weeds.
The pony shed was falling into ruin. You used to leave your muddied boots out there. They were gone of course.
The pear and apple trees still bare fruit.
The plums look especially good this year.
The rooks still nested in the poplar trees.
I went back in, to the kitchen and the remembered scent of lavender and yeast.
Our big table was gone. Everything was gone. All changed. Modernised beyond repair.
I didn’t venture on the attics stair.
That would have been too much for even me to bear.
Too dark. Too old. Too empty.
No laughter echoed anywhere. Only in my memory.
Old songs. Piano keys. The paintings missing from the hall.
I thought 0f Rumpelstiltskin and naive Goldilocks.
Your versions were so good. Funny and irreverent.
Clouds still passed the window where you told those tales.
The trees still moved in the wind, their branches bouncing up and down.
My life has wandered on. I don’t have the money to buy a house like this.
I sometimes wonder if I might return here on my last breath.
Today I was an intruder for a while.
I left through the side door beside the servants’ stairs.
No-one saw me. No-one cares.
I won’t go again there,
except at night, in dreams.


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