The four poems that shelter under the umbrella title of CARAVAN AT BREAN (with the grandchildren) are basically four different aspects of a wonderful holiday in Somerset.

 

1. A CHERISHED CONSTRAINT

I wake inside a box. At peace…for now.
Incarcerated in a tomb of my own making;
I cherish the time spent within my head
As thoughts gambol and cavort, sparkling
Like mayflies behind the drawn blind lids.
Long minutes pass before my eyes flick open
And the calm of coffee and cream percolates
Into my vision…accompanied by the staccato beat
Of seagulls padding the early morning rooves.
It dawns…the grandchildren are still asleep.
A whistling kettle blows away, like the rising steam
From an old Nescafe ad, all thought of coffee.
Grandma must be up…must be up and about.
A pointless stretch of my leg confirms her absence
From the functional but temporary marital bed.
Strange how a week with the grandkids morphs us
Into the asexual Grandma and Grandad.
The loving, faithful and nameless old retainers,
Just chauffeur, cook and bottlewasher;
Happy to be doormats and dormant downstairs.
Who, for the remains of the week,
Can love but no longer be lovers.
The tea arrives with Grandma…her first name escapes me                                                   And we exchange smiles like gentle collaborators.
I reach for a book and cleave to the silence but
My bladder, more an enforcer these days
Than Grandma, drives me from my blissful ease.
I rise into the ever-diminishing space
That compels me to French kiss the wall
And sidle along like some slow-motion flapper.
Through the door next to the clipped-shut wardrobe
Where I enter a world of unseen terrors –
Sharp corners which lie in wait and stubbed toes that
Will inflict the worst pain ever… if only for half a minute.
I enter the bathroom and just for a second
Consider whether the train is still in the station;
Before engaging into that blissful departure.
I pull on the snug-fitting shower cubicle and
Flinch as this icy over-starched dressing gown
Prepares me for the game of Russian Roulette
I am about to play with the hot and cold taps.
As I bathe I can only think of Harry Houdini.

© gray lightfoot