Mother's Lustre

Pippa Little

No lass of my own, who can I wrap these for
In soft newsprint, and say
Take good care of them as I have
All these years, look,
Not a crack, chip or mark,
Dusted with a damp cloth every morning?

Foolishness from Low Fell market
My father said, the day she went with me
Walking on her birthday in the fine rain,
In her best maroon coat and knitted hat
Holding my hand
All the way there and back:

Home, in front of him without a word
She set them out to glisten on our mantelpiece:
He asked how much they'd cost
But she just turned her head away
And he never knew, though I did,
And I never told.

A whipped cream sunrise, tea at the Ritz,
Shy blushes, peppermint ice - her darlings,
They lit our front room up
As if all the clouds were rolled away
Like carpets, pushed back across our floor,
Ready for dancing.

(Lustreware is an iridescent and pearly ceramic finish, popular in the 1930s)

Pippa Little

Pippa Little lives in Northumberland with a retired guide dog, three sons and a husband. Her collection of poems, The Spar Box, was published by Vane Women.

Her "field of dreams" is a community playground she helped create.

And the poem Mother's Lustre came from imagining who had once owned a vase she found in a charity shop.

For more recent news, and more poems, from Pippa, see also Mrs Greathead's Garden and Iskar's Field.


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Mother's Lustre © 2006 Pippa Little: used with permission.
Copyright of this poem remains with the poet: please do not download or republish without permission.