It’s mis-shapen (according to the supermarket) and therefore cheaper than the uniformly straight, uniformly purpled aubergines which cost twice as much. Pretty difficult to tell the difference (THAT should be the new moniker….’Tell the Difference’….) once it’s bubbling along with the lamb in a tagine for supper.
Anyhow, it got me thinking about the big, beautiful, imperfect houses which I walk past every day and which are slowly being deprived of character and turned into Barratt houses….if you want a spanking new house then go and buy one and leave the characterful ones to those who appreciate a scuffed skirting board and less than perfect plaster.
Arts and Crafts
It fell down last March.
A too-warm day and the blossom out on the cherry, early,
in the front garden.
Paths and lawn and drive dull-churned to screed
and gravelled runnels
where the lorries had pushed their way in,
shaving the stone pillars as they reversed,
shoving branches ’til they cracked.
It’s just a tree.
Just a wall.
But a young man built that wall,
hot august burning his young neck to leather
cradling the stone in his arms like a child,
finding the right fit.
The house was careful, crafted, waxed and nurtured.
It was settled and bedded into the earth
and breathed deeply, rhythmically,
suiting its people,
its rippled glass glowing comfortable yellow light.
It’s screaming now.
Men important in yellow hats pose and peer and nod safe agreement
and the man with the sleek car whose doors close with the thunk of wealth
stands and strokes his prize.
I can hear it from the door,
open like the shriek of a mouth:
the rip of wooden panels levered from brick
hurled into a skip, nails clawing the air,
the smash of splintered porcelain
crazed nickel taps lying in shock
and the milk green bath that cocooned us
and comforted us and heard our childish gibber
lies exposed and shamed.
Window sills singed with stubbed out cigarettes
and branded by the dust white heat of a mug,
They heave in limestone and marble and halogen
and clear untroubled glass
to dress its nakedness.
It felt its disgrace too hard and
started a low grumble
which grew to a screeching din enough to cleave open the earth.
Clay and flint exposed for an instant til
the house cracked and tilted, drunk, and fell
wall against wall
roof against cellar
to a satisfied mound of lime spewing rubble.
A paint chart still flapping, floundering in dirt.