Half-Told Tales

Speech flowing in caressing cadences
telling your world, the before and after, the here and there
telling only half your story.
Since the children ,unknowing
heard your demi-Parisian twang
labelling it German, stoned you and Frenchy Rose in the street.
Since the zeppelins shadowed London,
one side of your tongue has been silenced.

Swift-like you flit around the kitchen
recounting Soapy Ethel's bathwater flying from the top window
drenching your only hat.
Locking Meme in the lavatory,
as Marie Lloyd was waiting at the church.
The warm brown of the big teapot and the flour in your hair.
Blue Players Navy Cut from Miserable Sid's
Warm by the fire in your yellow kitchen

When you died we found 42 full cans
Of rusted 'Bronco' distemper, all the shade Canary Yellow
With a horsehair sofa
Hoarded in the cupboard
Underneath the rickety bottom stairs
Behind the button boxes, odd china, indian brassware and the memories
The stairs fell down when we took the tins out
Needing the support, as we did.


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