AUDIO COMES TO MY BLOG!
It’s time to try something new on my blog now that I’ve reached the one year anniversary. I’m adding an audio version of this poem, “My Attic is Full.”
This week’s poem was written in 2011 for a friend I worked/taught with, Jean Sotelo Coene. Somehow we got to talking about cleaning attics and about all the treasures hidden up there and how hard it was to part with things. Jean mentioned her grandmother’s handbag and all the stories it held and that was it…a tiny seed of a poem was planted. I don’t know how those things come to be while others never take hold. I wrote the poem and gave it to Jean as a little present. I love to gift poems to just one person. For that reason, no one has read the poem except for each of us.
Today I was going through some lovely photos from a trip to Cornwall in 2013. [See Bedford Square +2, my travel blog for the whole story of that visit if interested.] We had visited a small manor house, Lanhydrock. [http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock/] Part of our wanderings allowed access to the attic. Of course it was beautifully staged as were all the rooms in the house, but seeing these pictures this morning was too hard to resist. I worked on the poem today, changing words here and there, adding in a whole stanza and then deleting it. In the end, I liked the first version best. Only a few words are different from the one I handed to Jean.
This poem is dedicated to the memories of all grandmothers who gave us so many wonderful stories to listen to, to dream about, and to share.
To hear the audio, simply click below. I am not much of a professional reader so please bear with me.
My Attic is Full
The attic needs cleaning. It seems so simple,
but it isn’t easy to throw old things away.
There is always the worry we might forget
those we loved, the ones crossed over.
Old boxes hold memories and clothing.
Do you hear the stories held in the silence?
A flowery print dress of soft lawn cotton
holds the story of when it was freshly laundered
and worn in the days of the mid-summer sun.
An old leather purse might tell you where
she went and what she wore.
Inside, a handkerchief delicately edged
in tatted lace is tucked away.
How often she must have clutched it
in her hand to wipe away tears or sneezes,
stifle laughter or mop her brow.
Even now the linen is redolent of old
damask roses from the flower garden.
Beyond the piled boxes of her belongings
are clothes from her husband so long mourned.
She kept them up here all those years,
the only way to keep him near.
Don’t you wonder how often she came up
into this dark attic, pulled the light string,
unfolded a crisp white shirt
and held it to her nose, eyes tightly closed
longing for the scent
that had faded from his pillow?