Someone has just departed the room
and left the door ajar. The walls, with some
aplomb, meet at the corner in the approved
off-white Bloomsbury style, though far
from WC1. The grate's aflame
with crumpled red crepe paper, casting
an eidolon of heat upon the hearthrug.

This was our front-room once, so sparsely
furnished and rarely visited it might
almost have been forgotten, were it not
for the odd funeral, Christmases
and the ceremonial hanging
of yet another portrait photograph.

These pictured family members but,
for all that they are relatives, I see
no relation between them and me --
even when the subject was myself.
Miles separate us, aeons of time,
and most have travelled on since then,
some quite beyond all recognition.

This would have been the year the aspid-
istra bloomed, with England so depressed
that Britannia took to her bathchair.
The year of George V's Golden Jubilee,
with souvenir mugs and parties on the Rye;
the year ex-Aircraftsman Ross took out his bike
(a Brough Super SS, I think) for a final spin.

The bike remained in almost mint condition.




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