Even if you only open the door a fraction,
send a slither of light and backroom fug
across wrapped glass and best china
you will catch his stern eye.
The Monarch of the Glen stares out
across Little Gran’s best room
from his prime position over a sideboard
beside chimney breast and unlit hearth.
The stag holds you in his gaze
while you try to remember
what must be fetched from
her shrouded place, rarely used
except when great aunts from Staines
call for special Sunday teas or
a sudden sadness shudders open
the front door, draws back heavy curtains
to let the mourners in.
Landseer’s Monarch seems at home
in his enforced double gloaming.
Not that there’s any glen grandeur here.
No antlered majesty roams through
these heather-free allotments, bracken-less ginnels
with their outside lavs, leftover Anderson shelters,
borders of frothy London Pride.
The only local fauna a squabble of geese
scolding dogs and blue budgies who flit
across backyard cages,
scrape on cuttlefish bone
chirruping in spite of it all.
from: What They Left Behind, Shoestring Press 2018
Sue Dymoke will be reading and talking with Alan Baker and Aly Stoneman about Poetry and Place, Five Leaves Bookshop, 30 April 6.30pm, Nottingham Poetry Festival.