The House Beside the Park

Once the shipping magnate’s pride and joy,
furnished with the finest of imported dreams,
now…..a nightmare of falling bricks,
and crumbling facades, with….
torn lace curtains framing the best,
and 'worst' of the past.
coachman’s cottage long abandoned,
servants paid off and sent away,
this was where my grandparents lived,
trapped below the aspidistra and antimacassars….
In the pervasive must and damp,
charged with the impossible burden,
of taking care of all above them.
not for them the Rolls Royce,
or master’s horsedrawn carriage…..
but the prospect of an uneasy marriage,
to a wheel chair….
for legs that would no longer work.
Now whenever I walk around the park,
I turn my head to stop and stare,
at that old house,
transfixed…..I cross myself for luck,
and in between those old gas lamps,
I am quite sure, I can just make out,
the hazy outline of my mother endlessly scrubbing the steps,
and polishing the brasses,
embellishing the fading memories of the past,
of that Victorian mausoleum,
of a house….overlooking Sefton Park.

[A poem about a house on the outskirts of Sefton Park,
Part of which was used in the filming of the Forsyte Saga. My grand parents were once caretakers there.]

By Terry Clarke