Not For Us

We cleansed the house then
And a million new pins shone

All boxes, bags and vans
Filled by strength of will, sore hands

And feet, our bodies groaned  .D..E. no more, no more
D..E. Each night we laid them down racked and sore

Ten years we stuffed in bags and chucked
Talked memories, vetted, tallied-up

We started in the loft, worked down
Hoovering, shining, removing - by dawn

On the fourth day
It was done

A gleaming home scraped bare and clean
A palace made for lodgers to move in

All wear and tear on the Jacobean
Granite from now on would be done

By their hands' use
My brother burned our detritus

Fed the flames her clothes
A heresy of smoke rose

To sting his eyes, and bitter on the tongue
Those grains of Scottish soil, our acres not our own

She left a legacy of exigence
And ease a foreign thing - experience

Of wringing hands and wringing cloths
Alien and sad.  Her presence like a scent of violets

Cut at dusk was delicate, the source obscure
And unidentified, the heart skewered

By subtraction.  Today I wore her coat
But could not

See her face.  In this far place I dream of home
An unknown place the gate is shut upon

For in our halls and rooms 
Strangers roam.
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