No. 4 Innings Gate

She sits at the wooden table
Sipping her tea with cream
Dunking occasional oatmeal cookies
Into the brimming cup.
She smiles
And speaks to company
Beyond my grasp and sight.
Her home, a playhouse
Magic in every jar; lids strewn
Carelessly aside. She creaks

Footprints up ancient steps
To the white bearskin rug
Warming her chamber floor;
Where through rain-washed windows
She awakes every morning
To the same little robin
Singing from burly conker trees below.
She whistles back gleefully
(In sunny light never fearing the ghosts that appear
From night-time wardrobes

And dreams). Outside:
Bumblebees stalk an orchard of pears
Enveloped in dense woods; hedgehogs visit
Tempted by dishes of milk and bread;
Cows moo and roam in the distance.
Beneath the shadows
Beside damp, mossy rocks
Fairies keep her company;
She seeks them down rabbit holes
And in broken windows of long-abandoned furniture shops
Taken over by children and time.

Flint covers the roads and homes.
Thatched roofs close in but never capture
Her quixotic feminine mind.
She skips down lanes
Through fields of soft grass
Over rotting fences, and arrives
With breathtaking abundance
Green hills everywhere
Silence, and a windmill
Weatherworn once white.

She runs,
Whimsical breezes flicker through fingers
Held out as she leaps
Past unassuming sheep.

On her own she creeps
Through burned-down schoolhouses
With keys found in secret crevasses
(And finds Sleeping Beauty’s cottage
Grown-over with ivy nearby).

Out of the corner of my eye I see her
Hide amongst the blackberry bushes:
With lips now sticky-purple sweet
She crouches, and remains.

~ c.p.grisold

© 2004