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House by Glyn Hughes


When I came here I had to un-nail the door
and break into its dark. Rain
dripping for years had rotted the floor.
I possessed first a smell of soot and ashes.
I let light in, and, twice, I married,

and left here for Greece
where often I would blink at the light
and long for some, for this, dark place,
just as the Greeks did as a matter of fact,
closing shutters and lurking in siestas.

Did I marry that one for her darkness,
did I turn to another for her light?
Then that light too turned into ashes.
Shadows of marriage haunt the corners
of house, woods, villages and hills.

Today I took our carpets where the cars
of other townsfolk loop around the tip
on this Bank Holiday: a clearance fiesta.
That house I let light into is soon restored.
Visible, the wood and stone. Bare boards.
I discover again the long-walled-up fireplaces.
Tonight — a glass of whisky in my hand —
for the first time again I can smell ashes.

Updated: Tuesday, November 19, 2002

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