Curtains stirring,

sun twists and turns,
two faces smiling
but no sound as the
rain powders down, fluttering
in the wind's hands.

Barks are greasy, soggy trees
and out across the mere
white sits up, stretches,
reaches from its surface
and begins to bead the air, 
coagulates a thick layer
of white spume-spreading rain
and hovers on the water,
its gradations merging air and sky
and wet clouds sigh to kiss the ground.

In here, deep inside the swish and tatter
of salmon silks and faded satins,
the air is still and dry,
and sadness breathes through dusty halls 
wide and empty, doors flung wide,
and presences are ancestors' 
footsteps echoing on stone, against the wooden
beams and plaster,
curtains at the slightest shift of air,
stir, and if I try, I catch
movement in the corner of my eye
before I turn
to find it gone
and a whisper rustling down the hall
and all the flat eyes staring at me,
bodies stiff, and painted gazes
posed before me in parade
ready for inspection.

For I am the living, breathing one
come to claim the home, the seat,
come to clean and fling
all curtains back, open casements,
polish oak and teak 
and spread new brooms -
come to claim my own and let some fresh air in.

So I step onto the portico, white-pillared
with its silent ranks of stone
and greet the fresh morning
of a fresh day,
cross the threshold
where I entered in
to stay,
and came into mine own
I discard the dead
to make way for the living thread
continuing the line 
of descent from them
to me.

Outside, across these sloping lawns,
my eyes watch the mist rise
and clear,
and the rain stops as suddenly
as it came
and silence spreads a hush
over all the green,
and far beyond,
the grey and wrinkling
movement of the sea rolls in
and all is still, suspenseful,
to see what I begin.
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