Cicely Fox Smith

(1 February 1882 – 8 April 1954 / Lymm, Cheshire)

The Old Rectory - Poem by Cicely Fox Smith

They are going to pull down the old rectory next year,
So I hear,
And put up an ugly little red
Brick one instead . . .

Which, of course, as you say,
Is the sensible thing to do,
Since who
Wants those great rambling places to-day . . .
That great drawing-room with the tall
Gracious windows that let in the sun and show all
The worn bits on the carpet and chairs . . .
The stairs
With the slender Queen Anne balustrades,
And the bedrooms - how many? Nine, I suppose,
Not counting nurseries - and the schoolroom whose paper still shows
Where the tinkling old Broadwood
Once stood
And was practiced on year after year by girls
In crinolines, ringlets and curls;
Then the kitchens, immense, beetle-haunted and bleak,
And the vast yawning range that would swallow
Your coal for a year in a week . . .
The stabling, too, built long ago by some parson
Or squarson
Whose delight was to follow
The hounds every day (except Sunday, of course,
When he preached two dull sermons perforce) . . .
And all on four hundred a year,
maids . . .

So the days will go by, and the lawn will be knee-deep in grass,
Where you scatter the seeds
Of the weeds
As you pass
On the borders once fragrant with flowers . . .
And the warm sunny hours
Bring no laughter, no flutter of muslins, no cries of
'Oh. Oh,
You pig - just look - he's sent me to Jericho!'
And the mallets are broken and rotten,
And the balls all lost and forgotten . . .

Ah well! . . . Yes, as you say,
No one wants these great places to-day . . .

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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