tea in the bedsitter
inspired by the painting by Harold Gilman, 1916
summer beats down on my Maple Street bedsitter
highlights many empty chairs in this small blue room
their backs as straight as headstones
Amelia came to see me to tell me about her telegram
I listen although if she mentions white feathers again
I will leave walk straight out into the Fitzrovia afternoon
she purses her mouth face pinched
I look away listen to Mrs Mounter downstairs
as she sweeps a clean floor polishes unused crockery
Mrs Mounter came earlier with her Brown Betty
full of steaming tea which sits untouched on the table
among empty plates and cups
the newspaper she brought was full of pretty names
Somme Picardy Verdun Amiens Flanders
where our boys and men have gone
the smell of freshly baked bread rises from downstairs
makes my empty stomach somersault
while the tea cools in the pot undrunk
still Amelia stays her loss as thick as dust
while the sun changes direction slants
through lace curtains onto my face and neck
Annest Gwilym is the editor of the webzine Nine Muses Poetry. Her writing has been widely published, both online and in print. She has both won and been placed in writing competitions. Her second book of poetry - What the Owl Taught Me – will be published by Lapwing Poetry in 2020.
4/21/2020 04:52:09 pm
A very beautiful poem. I love the references to WWI, and I also like the rhythm of the piece. Well done!
4/22/2020 08:10:35 am
Thank you Paula, pleased that you liked it!
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