Mary Williams

‘Period Charm’ from The Viewing

Night on the Fens
and a thin moon fingers the clouds.
The fog goes wool-gathering
over the marshes.
Ditch and dyke
lie chill and silent,
waiting for something.

He was still in the lounge in his pyjamas
but smiled when she excused him.
He’d not been well.
We looked around at period charm,
elegant touches,
careful use of space,
appropriate colour.

A lovely house, well cared for
and laboured on with love, a tribute to her skill.

Outside, away,
the Fens bristled steel-grey leeks and cabbages,
mile after mile; the latticework of dykes
slicing through flat chocolate-coloured soil,
like cake,
wind turbines slowly cartwheeling
under the low wool hanks of cloud.

And the muffling fog
creeping across the evening
made us forget where we were

and kept him prisoner in his pyjamas
in his own living room.

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‘Period Charm’ from The Viewing received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (March/April 2020) judged by Mandy Pannett.

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