Swaddled in moonlight the maid lies sleeping
Silent now, the bells. No clanking, heft of pots, nor ceaseless calls for wines and victuals, or servile curtsies.
Acquiescence, asinine rituals.
Champagne fuelled, tearful goosings, the only bubbles
beneath sugar glass.
Frozen ponds where silver slivering trout glisten.
Silent now, no stinging eyes,
nor ruddy, cursing butler,
Opaque macabre stares from hanging fowl. Cutting buckles, aching muscles, back breaking, skin chafing.
Silent now save deep, resentful growls of hounds echoing unheard through Gawthorpe’s grounds.
Suddenly the maid awakes,
bedsides bonnet glistens and in night’s solitude she listens.
Is that her mothers longing sigh? Or Calder’s current sliding by ?
Surely her brother’s teething howl or screeching arc of passing owl ?
She lies alone, so alone, just a mile from her family home. Sent into service at fourteen, Eyes shut tight she longs to dream. Soon-too soon, the day; like any other.
Bridge Street, Padiham