Homage-in Two Parts

by Elvira

Prologue

            She heard the whispers, in the other room.

She was not asleep.

            Granny and Beautiful Mother were laughing

About….something.  She rushed as fast as her

Two year old chubby legs could carry her.

            What? Who….were they talking about?? Not

Cousin Franklin, charming Franklin! No. Nor Beautiful

Alice?….Who was this ugly little girl?  Who were

They speaking about in hushed tones?

            “No further in that face”

            The tinkling of Beautiful Anna’s laughter rose

Higher, as Granny told her “hush”

            Anna put her hand on her forehead. Nothing could

Be done

            Father was not home

            Baby was not safe. Where was father?: at

The tavern? Riding a pony-er-horse.

            “Elliot, won’t help”, said Beautiful Mother,

The Pear’s Soap Woman.

            Baby just wanted to cry. But Beautiful

Pear’s Soap Woman would DISAPPROVE!

So, Baby just put her little bottom

On the floor. And fell asleep….

                        Past/Forward

She sat near the body.

            A life over.

Born to privilege,

            Living in genteel povery-a stranger,

                        A thorn among the Brainless Hall

                        Beauties, whose pinnacle

                        Was Anna, her mother.

Ah, Beautiful Anna:

                        A Pear’s Soap Beauty, toasted

                        By the gentry, winning the

                        Heart of a frivolous rogue

Yes, Elliot:

                        Younger brother to THE ROUGH RIDER,

                        Bon vivant, hopeless father, yet

                        Ever charming to Baby

The Child:

                        Ignored, oft tortured by words

                        Cutting like a saber; always

                        Looking-looking for kindness;

                        Love; being pelted by Alice

                        Blue gown’s snide remarks.

                        Baby knew her place:

                                                            Mother

                                                            Father

                                                            Kin

                                                            Baby

                        Then came Bammie. Aunt Bye. Seeing not

                                    A “Granny”;               offering hope

                                    Not offense-and a path to love.

Years passed.

                                    Father died drunk

                                    (Baby, now Nell, was never told)

                                    Mother died young

                                                                        Then…

Along comes Aunt Bye’s Europe

                                    The face no longer the focus

            Liberating her compassion and kindness, honored with

                                    Bouquets left on her dorm door

More time.

                        The Hyde Park Squire wedded her

                                    (for her mind). Do Tell!

                        No longer an orphan, but now

                        Cousin Sara, phantasmagorically

                        Suffocates her growth.

                        Children. Children and more Children

                                    Some died. Then THE LETTER

                                    Love died.  Silence.

                        The Squire sickened.  The townhouse bird

                        Was freed.

                        Bab’s “Letter to the world” ignited a

Chrysanthemum, illuminating hope to those

            Left in depression dullness, treading

            Ball gowns for proletariat clothes.

            She was flawed, but empathetic,

            She did the Nations work, tirelessly.

            Even, at her daughter’s final betrayal

            At the squires last days.

Her journey ended.

                        Yet,

            The dance remains the same; Prince

                                                            Princess

                        Noted.

                                    And the fragile

            Swan, swims in sluggy swamps

            Called the World.

Until that journey ends, and some voice

            Says: “I will declare thy righteousness

                        And thy works….”

                                                            (Isaiah 57:7)

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