Terry Collett

Gold Star - 23,271 Points (13/12/1947 / LONDON)

Step Up 1901 - Poem by Terry Collett

You're what?
Mrs Broadbeam said
gazing at Mary the kitchen maid
who stood facing her
hands behind her back
red knuckles clutching each other

Miss Alice's lady's maid
Mary said softly
eyeing the cook
fearing her censure

lady's maid?
who said?
Mrs Broadbeam uttered
spitting as she did so

His Lordship
Mary said
just now when I went to see him

Mrs Broadbeam breathed deeply
and stared at the thin girl before her
but you know nothing
about Miss Alice and she
hardly knows you
the cook said

Mary said nothing
about Miss Alice climbing
into her bed one night
and insisting Mary
be her adopted mother
as her own mother
was ill away in hospital
called an asylum

I know her
Mary said
I took her for walks
and we saw the horses
in the stables when the nanny
asked me to look after her
the other month

asked you?
the cook said
that's her job not yours

Mary looked past the cook
at the stove where a pot was boiling

and how am I to manage without you?
Mrs Broadbeam said

the nanny said she
will get another girl to help you
Mary said
looking back at the cook

Mrs Broadbeam sighed a big sigh
and when is this meant to start?
the cook said

Sunday for church and after
Mary said blinking
and biting her lip

there was silence and stares
and big heaving of breath quietly

all right well until then
don't stand there
there is work to be done
potatoes to peel
washing up to wash and dry

Mary nodded her head
and putting her apron
about her waist
walked off to the scullery
to begin more work

the voice of the cook
bellowing from afar
from the kitchen
pots and pans banging
then silence
then the cook's voice singing.

Topic(s) of this poem: historical

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Poem Submitted: Monday, January 11, 2016

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