To me, the house is still the same.
The kitchen wallpaper, coal fire
smoke stained,
waiting to be re-dressed with four
rolls of floral pattern my grandmother
would hang, using a flour paste,
over the old paper, just in time for
Christmas, and ready for the
arrival of family visitors who came
with their tales of how life used to be.

The front room, a gleaming brass
fire front fender, and my grandmother’s
glass cabinet, with her pride of
fine china teacups and ornaments
carefully displayed. The room ticked
with the mantle clock; its hour chime
prompting my grandfather to check
his pocket watch, turning the hands
forward, complaining how much time
it loses in a day.

History moves closer to me now;
the wireless in the middle family room
wrapping its music around us.
The large scrubbed pine table,
where we sat in silence and bursts
of conversation, filling the space that’s
still there today. Now, I occasionally
wind my grandfather’s watch,
hold it to my ear, and listen to the tick
of those memories I cherish most.

 

© Rowland Hughes – October 2016.