Once, in a fit of candour I told Mum how much
I disliked her Staffordshire pottery spaniels;
their vacuous eyes, lopsided shoulders, amorphous
leg-body-tails, slap-dash two-tone glaze and
the absence of any chemistry between them.
Years later, tossing out clutter preparatory to
moving house, Mum said she remembered how
fond I was of her Staffordshire pottery spaniels
and how lucky we were to have a matching pair
and she promised to keep them for me.
True to her word, they're mine now and I've been
trying develop a rapport, though clouds and inkblots
have more personality than they do.
They're fakes of course; I did some research, but
even the genuine ones are unattractive. Mine were
probably painted by underpaid Chinese children,
an authentic touch since the originals were often
painted by underpaid 19th century English children.
Their form has been designed purely to deceive,
eastern ingenuity taking advantage of western
elitism. I like that!
They never look dismayed when I leave for work
or pleased to see me when I come home again.
They're not needy, make no demands on me, pull
no heartstrings. I like that!
They fulfil the function of being ornaments, so that
if relatives visit, they don't think my home is deficient
in ornaments. I like that!
I don't need to insure them. I like that!
You can see how well I'm doing; four good reasons
to like them already. I really want to like them
because I'm never going to give them away.
Diane Hine's Other Poems
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Comments about this poem (Spaniels by Diane Hine )
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