Cook had always worked at the Bighouse.
The house had always been surrounded by trees,
So tall and strong
That they supported the sun and moon
When they paused to shine overhead.
Rooks and the whispering wind
Danced to their easy sway.
At six o’ clock every evening
Cook left her cottage
To wend across the fields
To work at the house.
It was always waiting.
In winter, icy rain and cutting winds
Were cast into her path
But she strode steadily
Towards its dimly lit windows.
In summer, the warm air became scented
With the satisfying aroma
Of highly polished wood surfaces,
As she approached
The fading green and cream side door.
Cook was preparing dinner.
The Lady of the Bighouse
Drifted down the three stone stairs
To the kitchen.
The beef sizzled on schedule,
So they mused
Over the slender fragments
Of other similar days,
Retracing steps and sharing memories.
Later on, Cook could still smell
The Lady’s exquisite perfume
Lingering in the darkened window.
Holding a hand to her forehead,
Cook peered out
Through the now jet black glass
The sky was speeding by,
And her eyes lowered,
Then alighted on the cat
On guard under a hide
Of quivering dusty nettles.
All was well.
Cook dried the last plate
And placed it on the appropriate shelf.
When she opened the side door,
The driving rain hissed
And she had to tightly grasp her collar
To lift herself between the puddles.
She felt the reassuring gaze
Of the Bighouse and the cat
Follow her thin torchlight through the cedar trees,
Across the swirling soaking fields,
Safely towards the pale flickering light
That was a warm coal fire
That was that,
For another day.
(From Bighouse first published 2014)