Our Terraced House is a beauty poem, a celebration of the imperfections surrounding us and a reflection on the stunning contradictions that exist between people.
Our Terraced House – Beauty Poem
Nature requires no facelift
Nor should you every sweep
the dusty road between
your house and the church or wipe
the sweat from your temples.
The wild, wild waves of the ocean
mirror her hands as her children board the school bus.
And the gagging, gagging gust
is as perfect as the lump in my throat
the day she passed. I’m still at the gable
hanging linen on the line on watch-out for that
one robin the next-door neighbour feeds
dinner scraps. Her husband is wheelchair-bound,
lifts his face toward the treetops.
I hear her sing airs louder than
our quarrels, louder than gale-force
squalls. Behind the garden back wall,
a bunch of toddlers screech most days
and from the right, a waft of the old man’s
Virginia tobacco. Mother and I are quiet
like squirrels with a gob full of nuts. In our house,
Father is the talker, his chattering
a dripping, dripping tap in the rain,
the walls are leaf-thin,
I heard Mrs Kavanagh from number three
call her husband an idiot
the same day they were making out outside
where the ivy travels across the window pane.
And still, they mirror our songs and prongs,
like rock faces throw, back what we’ve said
between the howls and the twittering,
the humming and the hush of people
brushing inside, dewdrops merging
in the velvet folds of a rose.