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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,

She frowned

And her eyes lowered,

Then alighted on the cat

On guard under a hide

Of quivering dusty nettles.

All was well.

Dinner over,

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

And home.

That was that,

For another day.

(From Bighouse first published 2014)




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