The Dresser

From the front at least

A beautiful victorian dresser

From behind

The ugly truth

Assembled from wooden orange crates

The company name stamped

Telling of a former

More humble existence

 

Two little drawers

One at each side

Gunmetal latch handles

Age worn

From opening and closing

Hold family secrets

Make up

Lipstick stumps

 

Snaps from Blackpool and Wales

In happy times

Are slotted around the mirror

The wind is behind them

Mum’s perm rendered savage like

 

But still

A huge grin across her’s

And Dad’s faces

Especially in the ones photographed together

Arm in arm

Walking down the seafront promenade

Completely dependent on each other

 

Their bulky frames stretched

Cosetted

By polyester fashion

Mum’s a ruby cardie

Dad’s a beige v- neck jumper

With no nonsense rolled- up arms

 

One of the bigger drawers beneath

Is guardian to documents

More photos in plastic Co op bags

Yellowing christening certificates

Old school reports

A paperback edition of the new testament

 

Given to me Mum

When she began her journey of faith

Searching for peace from panic attacks

Feelings of alienation

Anxiety crippling her mind

Putting up it’s iron bars in front of the doors

 

Keeping her a prisoner

Physically and mentally

With the emphasis I suppose on the hope of personal change

Joan from Church had neatly written inside the front cover of the book

"When someone becomes a Christian He is not the same anymore

 A new life has begun "

"Is your Mum ok John? Give her this will you love?”

She’d said

 

I dropped it in a puddle on the way home

The brown edged watery stain forever afterwards present

A permanent reminder of my carelessness

 

I stare into the oval mirror

Now liver spotted around the edges

Tired of the reflections it has held

She’s draped her red chiffon scarf over it

I can still smell the perfume she used

Getting ready for their weekly night out at the local working men’s club

Her only foray into worldly pleasures

 

Spritzed from the unusually ornate glass scent bottle

Complete with film star style pump atomizer

It could have been used by Elizabeth Taylor

Such was it’s beauty

To me at least

 

“Tha suits owt May..tha’re the same as Marilyn Monroe

Tha could wear a prater (potato) sack and tha’d still look bloody lovely”

Dad’s usual patter when Mum appeared

A good twenty minutes or so after he was ready

Her skin faintly blushing beneath the rouge

Cheeks apple red like the scarf around her neck

“ get out of it you daft bugger” Her usual response

 

They’re all here

The likely suspects guilty of impregnating the fabric with smells of the era

Tweed,Estee Lauder, Panache, Charlie,

A couple of Avon varieties

Most half empty

The fancy glass potion like bottles developing a layer of dust

Aching to be wiped away

 

Through the wooden sash windows I can see the old lady next door

Pegging out

Talking to her slim, grey faced son,

I always imagine he’s a business man

Shirt, tie, grey face

He looks worried

Gesticulating with his hands

She’s often in hospital nowadays

 

I lie back on the bed

Amazed still that they bought it at all (Influenced by me I like to think)

It’s cream metal frame topped off by Gold lacquered finials

Mocking the plain wood elsewhere in the room

I could be anywhere

 

In the South of France

Relaxing in a chateaux

Taking a rest before the evening meal

But this is my Parents bedroom

In their red brick terraced house

 

The first And last House that’s theirs

Held aloft by hard work

Tears

And love

 

To imagine a time when they’d be separated by death seems impossible

Cruel

Their union too strong

Too watertight

Even for the grave

 

Tiny, cramped and musty

A packet of unworn tights on the white painted chair

Talcum powder puff left out of it’s fancy pot

Worn axminster carpet pieced in places

This is where I go to

When life gets too much

 

When my eyes sting tears of inferiority

And low self esteem drags me down

I relax in it’s embrace

Feel it's acceptance

It’s womb like hold

My place of escape

AcceptanceChildhood memoriesDadFamilyMumSafety

◄ Remembering James

The Close ►

Comments

Frances Macaulay Forde

Fri 26th Jan 2018 22:52

Beautiful detail, sentiment and reasoning. Reminds me of a poem I wrote about my childhood bedroom. Keep writing, Jon. You have a very poetic sensibility.

Profile image

Philip Stevens

Wed 29th Nov 2017 11:03

.... distant memories that you can touch and smell and breath in....fantastic

Profile image

keith jeffries

Mon 27th Nov 2017 15:45

Jon, Congratulations on Poem of the Week. Brilliant. Keith

Profile image

keith jeffries

Wed 22nd Nov 2017 20:40

Jon, drenched in an affectionate nostalgia with such amazing detail of both your parents and their impact on you. A truly remarkable poem. Really very well done. Thanks. Keith

Profile image

raypool

Tue 21st Nov 2017 22:20

Hi Jon. I was thinking of Alan Bennett reading this lovely poem. His eye for detail and in particular re his family resonated here I thought. Such a well fleshed out theme that reaches in to draw out tears of memory - the sadness is in the abandonment that death brings to material things.

Ray

Profile image

Martin Elder

Mon 20th Nov 2017 20:21

It is amazing how many memories can be evoked just from one piece of furniture and all that it contains. Fantastic poem Jon

Profile image

Pauliegreg

Mon 20th Nov 2017 10:30

Great poem, really love your work Jon. ?

Alexis Guzman

Sun 19th Nov 2017 21:41

This is Alexis. First to counteract anxiety. Observe your anxiety know where its coming from. Embrace anxiety. If you resist anxiety then you will be more vulnerable to it. Accept it and you will feel calm LASTLY, . Demand More of anxiety. This will help you not worry so much of anxiety and just letting it come to you. The Result is you BUILD Confidence.

Go to the Link down below to learn how you can CONQUER Anxiety. (affiliate)

https://tinyurl.com/yah5wkor

Profile image

Jon

Sun 19th Nov 2017 20:26

I came up with this when I remembered an old dresser my parent's had in their bedroom. The feelings I got and the memories which came up surprised me. I remembered things I previously had forgotten.

If you wish to post a comment you must login.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Find out more Hide this message