Carlyle’s maid at her first job
far from the rutty hut of childhood.
“Mum, I’m peacock proud.”
Mum’s eyes flashed the color of new coins.
“Do your best is all.”
In a room bigger than her whole life
this maid, anxious to please,
stared into the roaring fire.
Dreaming through every article in the room:
the gilded clock,
a portrait of the brocaded matriarch,
old painted vases with new flowers,
fancy teapots of every design,
a wall of books, beautiful
dark arms circling the room.
“I cannot have, but I can touch,
touch and clean and straighten and re-set
and move and move back
and preen these pretty things.
O, a mess of papers.
That cannot be!
Into the fire with thee.”
“Dear Thomas, I never knew you.
You wrote about a revolution of the poor.
Then sacked your maid.
At least you did not
chop off her head!”
Published in Verse Wrights