She treasures it, I see car boot stalls
When I look at the unremarkable china plate set
Mounted on her living room wall.
Inherited from her grandmother, so not her own taste,
Can she really like it, or is family sentiment more the case?
But that fussy pattern of insipid muddy flowers
Or is there something amiss with me? I muse,
missing it, and half the story,
As she relates the worst day of her life -
When her late husband accidentally dropped the matching jug.
The teapot holds court, worshipped in the alcove.
Well they used to cost a months' wages, you know
So you'd only buy them for very special occasions
(never to use them ever afterwards though).
A funny indulgence for a poor family
Scraping by on a few shillings a week.
You'd have thought new clothes might have been more important,
Or food, or doctor's bills, or furniture, or sheets.
But she comes from an age where tea sets mattered
While she slept with three sisters on lumpy horsehair
Coats for bedclothes, ice on the water jug.
Dreaming of certainty in a constant teapot world…
© LS King 2006