We visitors are whispering, withdrawing from each other. We feel too tall, too loud, navigating all this china, imploring children to be careful.
This was her writing table, this her chair
(‘Please Do Not Sit’); two bijou items placed
here by the window where the light fell square
on her page from the horse-drawn world she faced.
In a cramped corner the public (that’s me
and you) peer through glass at her neat handwriting;
or we squeeze into the bedroom which she
and her sister shared – until she was dying.
We visitors are whispering, withdrawing
from each other. We feel too tall, too loud,
navigating all this china, imploring
children to be careful. We’re quite a crowd.
We open a door (she would have opened it too,
her skirts brushing the frame) and we pass through.
© John Looker 2017
This appears as today’s poem in the International Poetry Month organised by Bonnie McClellan every February. I’m grateful to her for selecting it and I warmly recommend following the daily poems there throughout this month. They have a unifying thread but are the varied work of different writers from many countries.