My grandmother loved lemon soap;
it was her special Christmas indulgence.
The tin bath pulled comfortably close
to the coal fire, a torn square of towel
for a flannel, and her precious soap,
still wrapped in its original paper,
placed carefully onto a bone china saucer.

The ritual was serene,
her long grey hair tied back from neck
and face, she lathered her body
as though bathing a new born baby.
At this time, she was special to herself,
frequently lifting the soap to her nose,
as though smelling an exotic rose.

Holding the firelight in her eyes,
an old body dissolved into the water
and a child crept into her skin.
Her world lost in a time of stillness
and thought.
This was her moment of light,
a china doll taken from its box and
nursed awake with love.

© Rowland Hughes June 2016