The workshop at le Moulin the other week was on the theme of a sense of place, and this poem was written in response to an exercise asking us to write about a loved object in its place. The Buddleia bush of the title was beside the French windows of the sitting room, in the house where I was born.
Dancing light spot flickers, random ,
to pull my focus here and there
from wall to glint of glass on picture;
settles briefly on household god –
brightens the Hilversum-Luxembourg-tour –
heightens my grasp of the wider scene;
comes to rest on the small glass slipper,
emblem of romantic love,
proof that fairy tales come true.
Grumpy Great-Aunt Rosa left it
to my mum – forgotten the imagined slight,
that time I echoed Mum’s ‘good riddance’
before the Aunt had left our sight.
I had believed it a valediction,
a fare-thee-well, in terms polite
and formal, as befits so grand a figure.
I was wrong and wrath erupted round my head.
Ears were boxed to my amazement,
supper denied me, sent to bed.
That glass slipper, loved, for ever
lost to me when Mum was gone –
older sister claimed the right
to favourite object – hers as well as mine.